To St G. J. Mivart 21 April 1
Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
Will you forgive me for troubling you with 2 or 3 questions.—
In some M.S. after discussing the bearing of the amount of modification & the lines of descent on the terms used in classification, & after giving your class. of the Primates in the Phil. Tr., I go on to add, that on genealogical principles alone, & considering whole organisation man probably diverged from the Catarhine stem a little below the branch of the anthropo: apes (i.e. higher up than in your diagram in Phil. Tr.)2 I have then added in my M.S. that this is your opinion, but I cannot remember whether I derived this from you from conversation or inferred it after reading your 2 great papers.—3 Is this your opinion? & may I say (if so) that you tell me so.— I conceive that the line of descent may be as just indicated, & yet from the amount of modification suffered by man, he may perhaps deserve to be called a distinct sub-order or Family.—4
Secondly you describe in Zoo. Tr. in your paper on Lemurs (in which, by the way, I found much very interesting to me on rudiments—variability &c) you describe great differences in the shape of muzzles of the genera; but I want to know whether that structure of the nose, which led Owen to use term “Strepsirhine” (not that I understand how the nose is twisted) holds good in all the genera.—5
Lastly, Büchner in one of his compilations says Rütimeyer has found a fossil ape uniting Catarhine & platyrhine characters; do you know anything about this? I have seen no such account, & I thought that his eocene monkey was apocryphal.6
I left London before your return so could not profit by your kind invitation to call on you.—7 Pray forgive me for being so troublesome & believe me | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin
On amount of modification and lines of descent in determining the position in man.
Reference to StGJM’s article "On the appendicular skeleton of the primates" Phil. Trans. R. Soc. [157 (1867): 299–430],
and his [and James Murie’s] article on lemurs ["On the anatomy of Lemuroidea"] Trans. Zool. Soc. [7 (1872): 1–114].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7718A,” accessed on 14 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7718A