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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   21 February [1868]1

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

Feb 21.

My dear Sir

I have received & thank you most sincerely for the Horse returns: they are very interesting to me, & practically show the proportion of sexes nearly equal.2 I am in no hurry, so do the work whenever you have leisure & inclination.— I shd be very glad if you will undertake cattle as well as Horses & Dogs.—3 I presume that no materials exist for Sheep.—4

I suppose you are too busy a man to try whether a magenta-coloured pigeon would please or disgust his associates.5

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I will almost certainly publish your results, so that your labour under a public point of view will not be thrown away.

I returned this morning the Coursing Calendar to Field office—6


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 15 February [1868].
Tegetmeier had agreed to collect information on the proportion of the sexes in thoroughbred horses using the record of births in the Racing Calendar (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [before 15 February 1868] and n. 5). Tegetmeier’s memorandum on horses has not been found; see, however, the letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [16–20 February 1868] and n. 2.
CD acknowledged various sources of information on sex ratios in sheep in Descent 1: 305 n. 41.
CD had first asked Tegetmeier to perform this experiment in March 1867 (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 30 March [1867] and n. 6). CD reported the results in Descent 2: 118.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Thanks WBT for tabulation of sex ratios in racehorses.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5906,” accessed on 5 December 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16