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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Aitchison to George Cupples   30 June 1869


30th June | 1869

Dear Sir

In reply to yours of the 28th I have to express my regret that I have not been more explicit in my enumerations—1

The 33 convey scores which amount to 660 Lambs & the 30.8 to 608 Lambs & which will give an explanation of all the figures I have sent you—

I note what you say about Mr Elliot’ opinion but my long experience has brought me to an opposite conclusion, for every year at the time of castration (about the 22d May) I have had more female than male Lambs, which is no doubt partly balanced by Tup Lambs being more liable to die after birth—2

I am Dear Sir | Y’rs faithfully | Wm Aitchison

CD annotations

3.3 which … birth— 3.4] scored pencil


See letter from Robert Elliot to George Cupples, 4 June 1869. CD cited Aitchison’s confirmation of Elliot’s observation about the greater number of premature deaths among male lambs in Descent 1: 305 n. 41.


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


WA explains the figures he sent GC. In his experience female lambs at the time of castration outnumber the males. [Robert] Elliot differs.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Aitchison
George Cupples
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 86: 66
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6809F,” accessed on 10 December 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17