skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   9 October [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct 9th

My dear Huxley

Will you have kindness to tell me where you have published any notice of the affinities of the (Eocene?) Cetacean Zeuglodon to Seals.— I want to put in new Edit. of Origin a single sentence, showing that in some slight degree Zeuglodon is an intermediate form, & I do not know how far I may venture.2 To save me hunting up your Bird paper, be, also, so very kind, as to mark “yes” on enclosed sentence if it is correct.—3

Forgive me | Ever yours | C. Darwin

Ever since I wrote to you last, I have had 2 letters & seen some printed notices, showing how profound an impression Mivart’s book has made.—4 Believe how I rejoice in your splendid, (as Hooker expresses it) “essay—critique—exposition—discussion—enquiry— you may read for one & all these aims.”—5

Footnotes

The year is established by the reference to the sixth edition of Origin, which was published in February 1872 (Freeman 1977).
CD added the following sentence to Origin 6th ed., p. 302: ‘The cetaceans or whales are widely different from all other mammals, but the tertiary Zeuglodon and Squalodon, which have been placed by some naturalists in an order by themselves, are considered by Professor Huxley to be undoubtedly cetaceans, “and to constitute connecting links with the aquatic carnivora.’” The extinct Eocene cetacean genus Zeuglodon is now known as Basilosaurus; Squalodon is from the early Oligocene to middle Miocene.
The enclosure has not been found, but see the letter from T. H. Huxley, 10 October 1871. CD’s copy of Huxley’s paper on the classification of birds (T. H. Huxley 1867) in his unbound journals (Darwin Library–CUL) is lightly annotated.
CD last wrote to Huxley on 5 October 1871. The letters CD received have not been identified. CD refers to St George Jackson Mivart’s Genesis of species (Mivart 1871a).
CD refers to Joseph Dalton Hooker and to Huxley’s review of Mivart 1871a (T. H. Huxley 1871b); see letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 October 1871].

Summary

Asks whether THH has written on affinities of Eocene cetacean Zeuglodon. Wants to cite it in 6th ed. of Origin as in some slight degree an intermediate form, but does not know how far he may venture.

Has had more evidence of profound impression of Mivart’s book [Genesis of species].

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7995
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 289)
Physical description
2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7995,” accessed on 18 October 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7995

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

letter