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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   [July 1856]1

Down Farnborough | Kent

My dear Sir

I am glad to say that the Laughers are quite well; & I have heard one make a very odd note, which I suppose was laughing.2

You may rely on it, I will rear the first pair & let you have them, of the Scanderoons: they are now sitting, but rather badly & whether they will hatch I am rather doubtful.—

With respect to vertebræ, I shd. not like to be quoted; but as far as one casual look went, they certainly seemed to have an extra neck vertebra; but whether they have not one less in back, I will not say positively, for though I have now many skeletons, I really have not had time to look to them well—it is so much less trouble to do such work, when one’s materials are nearly complete.—3

My present so called Scanderoons4 though much larger than the diseased Bird, which I had from Mr Baker,5 are not, I believe, nearly so well characterised.—

I shall be very glad to meet you at Anerly.6

With many thanks for all your assistance to me, | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I am very glad you are going to give a Paper to Zoolog. Soc.—7

Your Polands (one died) are going on admirably.—

P.S. I have just looked at skeleton & I believe I have made simple blunder; but the neck has not been well cleaned & I cannot make out certainly.—


Dated by the relationship to the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 24 June [1856], and by CD’s reference to the poultry and pigeon show at Anerley (see n. 6, below).
In Variation 1: 165 n. 36, CD remarked that he was not sure that he had correctly designated the different kinds of vertebrae: all breeds examined had twelve cervical (neck) vertebrae. For CD’s summary of the osteological characters of the various breeds of pigeons, see Variation 1: 162–71.
One of five sub-races of runts that CD described in Variation 1: 142–3.
Samuel C. or Charles N. Baker.
The 1856 poultry show at Anerley Gardens, near Sydenham, Kent, was held from 29 July to 1 August. A report of the show is in Cottage Gardener, 16 (1856): 338–40.
Tegetmeier 1856 was read at the meeting of 25 November 1856.


Tegetmeier, William Bernhard. 1856. On the remarkable peculiarities existing in the skulls of the feather-crested variety of the domestic fowl, now known as the Polish. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 24: 366–8.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


His laughers are well, and he has heard them emit an odd note.

Thinks there is an extra vertebra in the neck of the Scandaroon, but is not certain and may have blundered.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1913,” accessed on 30 September 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6