skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Sigmund Fuchs   [1877–8?]1

My F. who is much engaged desires me to say that your q. is most difficult & he will not venture to express an opinion as hardly 2 Zoologists are agreed on the subject—2


The date is conjectured from the relationship between this letter and the letter from Sigmund Fuchs, [1877–8?].
CD probably wrote this draft in the expectation that Francis Darwin would write the reply to Fuchs’s letter of [1877–8?]; the draft is written on the back of that letter. F: father. CD alludes to the debate among zoologists regarding vertebrates and their ancestors. While many, including CD (see Descent 1: 205–6), had supported the view that vertebrates were descended from ascidians (Tunicata), others had argued that they descended from segmented worms (Annelida; see, for example, Correspondence vol. 23, letter from Anton Dohrn, 7 February 1875). Fuchs had asked whether CD agreed with Carl Friedrich Claus’s removal of tunicates from the phylum Mollusca into their own group in the most recent edition of Claus’s textbook, Grundzüge der Zoologie (Claus 1876). Although his reasons for the change were not explicit, Claus had included references to similarities between tunicates and vertebrates in both embryonic and larval stages (see letter from Sigmund Fuchs, [1877–8?] and n. 4).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


[Draft of letter for Francis Darwin to write to SF.] CD declines to express an opinion on SF’s query.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sigmund Fuchs
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 164: 221v
Physical description
ADraft 1p (on 14256)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10337,” accessed on 25 February 2021,