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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Raphael Meldola   28 January [1871]

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Jan 28

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your kindness in informing me of the hexadactylon case; but so many have been recorded that I do not think, except under very special circumstances, it wd. be worth your while further to investigate it.—1

With my thanks, | Yours faithfully & obliged | Ch. Darwin


Meldola’s letter to CD has not been found, but apparently he had written to CD about a case of polydactylism in a woman at Turnham Green, London. CD discussed polydactyly as a possible instance of reversion to a remote ancestral state in Variation 2: 12–17, but expressed reservations about his argument in Descent 1: 125–6, n. 38. Descent had not yet been published. Meldola published on the case in Land and Water, 11 March 1871, p. 179.


Thanks RM for information on case of hexadactyly [see RM’s paper, "Hexadactylism", Land and Water, 11 March 1871, p. 179.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7462,” accessed on 26 March 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19