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].
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 ofmodification & the lines of descent on the terms used inclassification, & after giving your class. of the Primates in thePhil. Tr., I go on to add, that on genealogical principles alone, &considering whole organisation man probably diverged from theCatarhine stem a little below the branch of the anthropo: apes(i.e. higher up than in your diagram in Phil. Tr.)f2 I have thenadded in my M.S. that this is your opinion, but I cannot rememberwhether I derived this from you from conversation or inferred itafter reading your 2 great papers.—f3 Is this your opinion? & mayI say (if so) that you tell me so.— I conceive that the line ofdescent may be as just indicated, & yet from the amount ofmodification suffered by man, he may perhaps deserve to be called adistinct sub-order or Family.—f4
Secondly you describe in Zoo. Tr. in your paper on Lemurs (inwhich, by the way, I found much very interesting to me onrudiments—variability &c) you describe great differences in theshape of muzzles of the genera; but I want to know whether thatstructure of the nose, which led Owen to use term “Strepsirhine”(not that I understand how the nose is twisted) holds good in all thegenera.—f5
Lastly, Büchner in one of his compilations says Rütimeyer hasfound a fossil ape uniting Catarhine & platyrhine characters; do youknow anything about this? I have seen no such account, & I thoughtthat his eocene monkey was apocryphal.f6
I left London before your return so could not profit by your kindinvitation to call on you.—f7 Pray forgive me for being sotroublesome & believe me | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin