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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 24 February 2017,