skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. H. Flower to Otto Zacharias   17 May 1877

Royal College of Surgeons of England, | Lincoln’s Inn Fields, | (W.C.)

17th. day of May 1877

My dear Sir

I am much obliged to you for the information about the pig’s foot so kindly supplied to me in your letter of the 10th. of May.1

Your plan for collecting and publishing similar cases appears to be a very good one, and I hope that you will be able to carry it out successfully. As you are interested in the subject I will send you a copy of the Catalogue of our Teratological Series; many additions have been made since its publication, including the one which is most like your specimen, it is a pig’s fore foot (and as in your case both fore feet were similarly malformed, and the hind feet normal) with an additional toe on the inner side of the foot—the difference being that the toe is not quite so large, and, is articulated above with the same bone as the 2d. toe, whereas in yours there is an additional bone in the carpus.


This is a sketch of the arrangement in our specimen No 297A.2 Yours will be very interesting to place beside it, as a further development of the same condition

Believe me | your’s very faithfully. | W. H. Flower


The letter from Otto Zacharias to William Flower has not been found. Zacharias had sent CD a pig’s foot, which CD had forwarded to Flower for examination as a possible case of polydactylism (see letter from Otto Zacharias, 21 April 1877, and letter from W. H. Flower, 3 May 1877).
Flower intended to send the Descriptive catalogue of the teratological series in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (Lowne 1872). The pig’s foot described by Flower and the one sent by Zacharias were added to a later edition of the catalogue (Lowne and Masters 1893, p. 100, specimens 391 and 393).


Lowne, Benjamin Thompson. 1872. Descriptive catalogue of the teratological series in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. London: the College.


Further discussion of structure of abnormal pig’s foot.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Henry Flower
Otto Zacharias
Sent from
Royal College of Surgeons
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.512)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10962,” accessed on 21 July 2024,