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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. de C. Sowerby   1 September [1850]

Down Farnborough Kent

Sept 1.

Read the P.S

My dear Sir

I write one line to say that I received this morning (to my grief be it confessed) an enormous lot of Scanian & Copenhagen Cirripedial fossils;1 in all probability some of the specimens will be better than those sent to you; will you therefore be so kind as to stop engraving any of the foreign species; for I presume it makes no difference at what part of Plate you work. In a weeks time I hope to get through this lot, & then you shall hear from me again.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

Names of the foreign species to guide you. (1) S Nilssonii or undulatum (I forget which it is called) on your list.—2 (2) Anatifera or S. cretæ (3) P. hausmanni (4) elongatus (5) carinatus (6) validus (7) dorsatus (8). elegans

P.S. It will save time, if you will be so kind as to send me by return of Post, my rough drawings of the above 8 foreign species;3 just write in pencil whether any of them are already engraved:—I am sure I can send some better specimens.—

I assure you that for my own sake, as well as yours, I am sorry to give this new trouble.—

Please send by return of Post


S Nilssonii is a mistake for Pollicipes nilssonii, named by Johannes Japetus Smith Steenstrup on the basis of a carina, subcarina, and rostrum. Steenstrup, however, thought it possible that this species could belong to the same species as a tergum that he named P. undulatus, hence CD’s confusion. This case shows the difficulty of naming species on the basis of one or two valves. Nils Peter Angelin believed that the terga named P. undulatis were from the same species with the scuta which he found and classified as Scalpellum solidulum. CD agreed with Angelin’s judgment (Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 52).
The eight species are figured in three different plates in Fossil Cirripedia (1851). Anatifera cretæ is figured as Scalpellum (?) cretæ on Tab. I; Pollicipes nilssonii, P. hausmanni, P. elongatus, and P. carinatus are shown on Tab. III; and the remaining three are on Tab. IV. The plan to have a single plate for foreign species had been given up in May (see letter to J. de C. Sowerby, 4 May [1850]).


Fossil Cirripedia (1851): A monograph on the fossil Lepadidæ, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1851.


CD has received an enormous lot of Scanian and Copenhagen cirripede fossils, some of which he thinks may be better than those sent to JdeCS earlier; asks him to delay engraving foreign specimens until CD has time to go through the new lot.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James de Carle Sowerby
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1350,” accessed on 21 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4