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Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. R. Wallace   1 February [1865]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Feb 1

My dear Wallace

I am much obliged for your photograph, for I have lately set up a Scientific Album;2 & for the papers which I will read before long.3 I enclose my own Photo, taken by my son & I have no other.4 I fear it will be a long time before I shall be able to sit to a Photographer otherwise I should be happy to sit to Mr Simms5

Thanks for information about the Aru pig, which will make me very cautious.6 It is a perplexing case, for Nathusius says the skull of the Aru resembles that of the Chinese breed & he thinks that Sus Papuensis has been founded on a young skull; DeBlainville stating that an old skull from New Guinea resembles that of the wild pigs of Malabar, & these belong to the S. scrofa type, which is different from the Chinese domestic breed. The latter has not been found in a wild condition7

Believe me dear Wallace | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from A. R. Wallace, 31 January [1865].
Wallace enclosed his photograph with his letter of 31 January [1865]. CD’s ‘Scientific Album’ has not been found.
The photograph, the first to show CD with a beard, was taken by William Erasmus Darwin in 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from W. E. Darwin, [19 May 1864]). It is reproduced as the frontispiece to Correspondence vol. 12.
In his letter of 31 January [1865], Wallace asked CD to sit for his brother-in-law, the photographer Thomas Sims.
CD refers to the descriptions of pigs by Hermann Engelhard von Nathusius and Henri de Blainville (Nathusius 1864, pp. 168–71, and Blainville 1841–55, 2: 130–1, 224). Nathusius maintained that the Aru pig was Sus indicus (known to Europeans as the Chinese breed), and that it had become feral after being introduced onto one or more of the Aru islands. The ‘Sanglier d’Arrou’ (or Aru pig) had been identified by Blainville as ‘Sus scrofa (ferus)’. Blainville also described ‘Sangier des Papous’ (the New Guinea pig, or Sus papuensis), as an introduced animal that resembled the pigs of Malabar. Blainville’s description was based on an adult specimen; however, Nathusius noted that Sus papuensis was first established on the basis of a young specimen. Nathusius reported Blainville’s findings, but added that the evidence establishing the New Guinea pig as a distinct species was open to question. CD did not mention Sus papuensis in Variation. He followed Nathusius in dividing all known pig breeds into two groups, the Sus scrofa group and the Sus indicus group (Variation 1: 65–79). CD believed the former had descended from the common wild boar; he noted that the wild species from which the latter had descended was unknown (Variation 1: 65).


Blainville, Henri Marie Ducrotay de. 1841–55. Ostéographie, ou description iconographique comparée du squelette et du système dentaire des cinq classes d’animaux vertébrés récents et fossiles pour servir de base à la zoologie et à la géologie. 3 vols. and atlas (2 vols.). Paris: Arthus Bertrand.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Nathusius, Hermann von. 1864. Vorstudien für Geschichte und Zucht der Hausthiere zunächst am Schweineschädel. 1 vol. and atlas. Berlin: Wiegandt und Hempel.

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

Wallace, Alfred Russel. 1862. List of birds from the Sula Islands (east of Celebes), with descriptions of the new species. [Read 13 January 1862.] Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1862): 333–46.


Exchange of photographs.

Aru pigs present perplexing case, whether wild or domesticated.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent from
Source of text
The British Library (Add. MS 46434, f. 53)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4760,” accessed on 18 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13