To J. V. Carus 17 November 1871
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
Nov 17 1871
My dear Sir
As soon as I receive revises I will send you a set; but tho’ I have corrected above 200 pages I dare say the revises will not be ready for some time.1 If it wd save you much labour I wd mark all the corrected passages in the sheets; & please inform me soon if you so wish. Nathusius, in his Viehzucht just published, throws doubt on the hybrids between the goat & sheep.2 The most important paper known to me on the subject is by Chevreul, Annales Sciences Nat. 3rd Series. Bot. (Zoolog? perhaps I may have made a mistake) Tom. 6. p. 188. in which he quotes M. Gay;3 but I doubt whether the latter is a very good authority. Molina, however, in his Hist. Géograp. de Chili 1788 Part 1 p 376, speaks of similar hybrids.4 Prosper Lucas (Hered. Nat. Tom. 2 p. 185) refers to Bomare, who says male goats cross more readily with sheep, than Rams with female goats.5
Mr Fink, however, (Communications to Board of Agricult. England Vol 1. p 280) says the reverse about the sexes. Nott & Gliddon in “Types of Mankind 1854 p 379” give, I believe, some references on the subject.6 From what I state briefly in the Origin on, I believe, good authority, the hybrids of the Common & Chinese geese must be very much more fertile in India than in Europe;7 & so it may possibly be with the hybrids of goats & sheep in Chili.
And now I want to ask you kindly to make one enquiry for me. Nathusius in above book, says Rams when castrated have no horns or only rudimentary Horns.—8 I suppose this applies to Merino Rams, for it is not true with respect to our English Breeds, in which both sexes have horns. With these breeds castration only reduces the size of the horns.
My dear Sir. yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
CD offers to mark corrected passages in sheets of 6th edition of Origin.
Discusses question of hybrids between goats and sheep, on which H. von Nathusius has cast doubt in his recent Viehzucht . CD gives several references for a contrary view.
Asks JVC to inquire about HvN’s assertion that castrated rams have no horns.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Carus, J. V.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Slg. Darmstaedter Lc 1859 Darwin, Charles, Bl. 42
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8073,” accessed on 27 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8073