From George Henslow [after 22 February 1869]1
S. Johns Parsonage | S. Johns wood | N.W.
Dear Mr Darwin,
I send you a “case” which I think might have some little interest for you.—2 as follows:
A Ewe of the Kentish breed, belonging to Mr Beard of Norton nr Canterbury,3 gave birth to twins, one of which was a pure Kentish breed, like its mother and father; the other a pure Southdown 4 & continued as such through life. I put the follg. questions to him, & the replies are Mr Beard’s answers.5
1. In what particulars did the twin lamb resemble the Southdown breed?
1. as to Head? Face dark.
2. as to body? wool short.
3. as to limbs? dark.
The Resemblance in all points was like a down.
Had the parent ewe ever been covered by a Southdown ram? not known.
Had any of the ancestry of the ewe ever been crossed by a Southdown ram?
Had the ewe any opportunity of seeing a flock, or even one constantly, while pregnant, or before that time?
Do not think it had.
Do you think Pangenesis would be the probable explanation of the phenomenon? by some early crossing not known, if so, it seems curious that it should reappear when twins were born & in only one of them!
Yrs very truly | G Henslow
Sends information from a Kent sheep-breeder.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6522,” accessed on 28 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6522