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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. C. Eyton   5 October [1856]1

Downe Bromley Kent

Oct. 5th

Dear Eyton

I have had sent me by Dr. Daniell,2 long resident at Sierra Leone the skin of a Dog, with skull in it & feet. He says “The Dog skin is an excellent specimen of the country Dog & forms the standard type of most here in W. Africa.” Should you not like to have this? If so will you tell me how I shall send it you. Have you any House of Call in London, so far I could send it carriage free. If you like to have it to add to your collection, perhaps you would just tell me whether the skull offers any marked peculiarities,—any further details I could hereafter read in any account which you might hereafter publish on Dogs.—

After writing to you my former long troublesome letter,3 I bethought me that I could experimentise on Hawks in Zoolog. Gardens, how long it is after eating a bird they throw up a pellet; & I will put seeds in crop & try if they are ejected & will grow.—4 Some friends in this country are observing the Partridge feet: I found on one the other day 11 grains of dry earth.5 Nevertheless if you can help me with any information, I shd. be very grateful.—

I hope sometime to hear from you in regard to Bechstein’s statement on the incisors of Pigs, & on Lord Hill’s crossed African Pig, & whence it came.—6

I suppose you did not continue the cross of the Geese; I have just been consulting your two Papers.—7

I shd. be much pleased if the Dog skin & skull shd. prove of any interest to you.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


William Freeman Daniell had been an army surgeon in various postings in Africa before settling on the Isle of Wight (see letter from W. F. Daniell, 8 October – 7 November 1856).
An entry in CD’s Experimental book, p. 15 (DAR 157a), dated 23 September 1856, reads: ‘1 Partridge shot by Mr Innes, had 10 grams of dry [interl] earth chiefly under claws; very firmly attached (Oct. 19th nothing grew) | Sept 25. Parslow shot 2 Partridges, after heavy rain: very little dirt, but yet some; nail of one clogged with fibrous matter, [’fea‘ del] plumose feather?—planted.’
See letters to T. C. Eyton, 21 August [1856] and 31 August [1856].
Eyton 1840 and either Eyton 1837a or 1837b.


Eyton, Thomas Campbell. 1840. Remarks on the skeletons of the common tame goose, the Chinese goose, and the hybrid between the two. Magazine of Natural History n.s. 4: 90–2.


Offers TCE dog’s skin and skull received from W. F. Daniell in West Africa.

Mentions his experiments involving hawk pellets in seed distribution.

Reminds TCE about pig crosses and incisors.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Campbell Eyton
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.139)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1968,” accessed on 20 May 2024,

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