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Darwin Correspondence Project


To G. B. Sowerby   [1 December 1845]

Down Bromley Kent


Dear Sir

I have found the two pectens,—but I cannot find the two Turritellas.—1 According to my memory I put out all my specimens of this genus from Navedad to aid you in your determinations. Are you sure that the Turritellas, which you want are from Navedad?2

Will you look through once again carefully all the specimens which I left with you & send me a line tomorrow by return of Post & then I will look through my whole collection & see if they have got in the wrong packet: which will cost me some trouble— I think I left them with you.—

Yours faithfully | in Haste | C. Darwin


Species of shells described by Sowerby in the appendix to South America, pp. 249–64.
Four Turritellae are described, one of which is from Navidad, Chile. CD placed great emphasis on the identification of the Turritellae as extinct species closely resembling those of today. In South America, pp. 132–7, he used this information to support his argument that the fossiliferous deposits of coastal Chile and Peru were laid down at the beginning of the Tertiary period, at a time roughly comparable to the Eocene formations of Europe (p. 133) and when the climate of South America was considerably warmer.


Cannot find two specimens of S. American fossil shells.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Sowerby, G. B., elder
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 932,” accessed on 25 October 2016,