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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. I. F. Major1   18 October 1872

Pisa,

18 Oct. 1872.

Hochgeehrter Herr,

Zweck Dieses ist die ergebene Bitte, mir Unterzeichnetem die Autorisation zur Übersetzung in Deutscher Sprache Ihres binnen kurzem erscheinenden neuen Werkes, Expression in Man & Animals zu ertheilen.—2

Von einer englischen Familie abstammend, bin ich Deutscher von Geburt & habe auch in Deutschland & in der deutschen Schweiz meine Studien gemacht.3 Dies zu meiner Legitimation; ich bin übrigens selbstverständlich bereit, vor einer entgültigen Entscheidung Ihrerseits, eine Probeübersetzung vorzulegen.—

Sodann erlaube ich mir, Sie in Betreff einer italienischen Ubersetzung des erwähnten Werkes anzufragen. Ich habe mich nämlich mit einem italienischen Freunde Dottor Cavanna, “Ajuto alla Cattedra di Zoologia et Anatomia Comp.”,4 an der Universitaet Pisa, verständigt, mit Ihrer Erlaubniss, gemeinschaftlich eine italienische Ubersetzung zu veröffentlichen: für getreue Wiedergabe des Originals wäre ich verantwortlich, für den Styl Herr C.— Um geneigte Berucksichtigung dieser meiner Bitten ersuche ich Sie ehrerbietigst.—

—Bei diesem Anlass kann ich mir nicht versagen Ihnen, hochverehrter Herr, jetzt schon einige Thatsachen mitzutheilen, die in glänzender Weise einiges in Ihrem wundervollen Buche: “The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex” (Vol. II Ch. XVII) enthaltene Voraussetzungen bestätigen.— Im Museum von Florenz befindet sich nämlich ein vollständig conservierter, ausgewachsener Schädel eines Wiederkauers aus dem Pliocaen des Val d’Arno,5 der sich nach einer von mir vorgenommenen Untersuchung, nur durch den absoluten Mangel der Hörner von den gleichfalls vollständigen, schon von Rütimeyer beschriebenen & abgebildeten Schädel des Bos etruscus Falc, aus der gleichen Localitaet, unterscheidet.6 Ich weiss keine andere Deutung, als dass der erstgenannte Schädel von einem weiblichen Individuum des Bos etruscus stammt; sodass also bei dem ältesten bisher bekannten Vertreter des Genus Bos das weibliche Geschlecht unbewaffnet, hornlos erscheint.

—Ein Beispiel verwandter Natur bietet das Genus Sus: Bei einer Anzahl fossiler, meist miocaener Species (Sus antiquus von Eppelsheim, S. provincialis v. Montpellier, S. erymanthius von Pikermi, S. choeroides von Monte Bamboli, etc)7 scheinen beide Geschlechter nur kleine, keineswegs zu Waffen geeignete Caninen besessen zu haben. Namentlich von den beiden letztgenannten Arten sind die Überreste von Dutzenden von Individuen aufgefunden worden: die Caninen waren stets klein & überragten kaum das Niveau der übrigen Zahnen.—

Eine auf diese Thatsachen sich beziehende Publication werde ich nächstens Ihnen zuzusenden die Ehre haben.8

Ich bitte Sie, die Versicherung meiner vorzüglichen Hochachtung & Ehrerbietung entgegenzunehmen.

C. J. Forsyth Major.

No. 11, Via Solferino. | Pisa

CD annotations

5.1 Ein … Zahnen.— 5.7] ‘small canines did not overtop other teeth’ added pencil
Top of letter: ‘Keep for address & answer when I know about Italian | Teeth | & Descent of Man’ blue crayon

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix I.
Expression was published in November 1872 (Freeman 1977). The German translation was made by Julius Victor Carus (Carus trans. 1872b).
Major studied at Basel, Tübingen, and Göttingen (Stehlin 1925).
Guelfo Cavanna was assistant to Sebastino Richiardi, professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at Pisa (Balducci 1921).
Major refers to the valley of the river Arno in Tuscany.
Ludwig Rütimeyer described a skull of Bos etruscus at the natural history museum, Florence, in Rütimeyer 1867, pp. 71–7, and table 1 figs. 3–5.
Sus antiquus is now Microstonyx antiquus; S. provincialis is now Propotamochoerus provincialis; S. erymanthius is now Microstonyx major erymanthius; S. choeroides is now Eumaiochoerus etruscus.
Major later sent CD an offprint of his article on the vertebrate fauna of Monte Bamboli, in which he argued that the absence of large canines in the fossil pigs he had studied was evidence in favour of sexual selection, since only males later developed large canines (Major 1873, p. 295). CD scored these passages in his separately paginated offprint, now in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.

Bibliography

Balducci, Enrico. 1921. Guelfo Cavanna. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale 3d ser. 9 (1920–2): 194–207.

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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Major, Charles Immanuel Forsyth. 1873. La faune des vertébrés de Monte Bamboli. Atti della Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali 15 (1872–3): 290–503.

Stehlin, H. G. 1925. C. J. Forsyth Major. Verhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Basel 36 (1924–5): 1–23.

Translation

From C. I. F. Major1   18 October 1872

Pisa,

18 Oct. 1872.

Highly honoured Sir,

The purpose of this is the humble request that you grant me authorisation to translate into German your new work, Expression in Man & Animals, which will shortly appear.—2

Descended from an English family, I am German by birth & I have studied both in Germany & in German Switzerland.3 This to establish my credentials; moreover, I am of course ready to produce a sample translation prior to a final decision on your part.—

Furthermore, I venture to inquire about an Italian translation of the aforementioned work. For I already have an agreement with an Italian friend, Dr Cavanna, the “Ajuto alla Cattedra di Zoologia et Anatomia Comp.”4 at the university of Pisa, to collaborate, with your permission, in a translation of your work. I would be responsible for a faithful rendering of the original text, and Mr. C. for the style— I most respectfully ask you to consider my requests.—

Given this opportunity, I cannot fail to communicate to you, most respected Sir, a few facts that confirm in a brilliant way some things in your wonderful book: “The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex” (vol. II, ch. XVII).— For in the museum at Florence there is a completely preserved adult skull of a ruminant from the Pliocene of the Val d’Arno,5 which, according to an examination made by me, differs only by the absolute absence of horns from a likewise complete skull of Bos etruscus Falc from the same location, already described and reproduced by Rütimeyer.6 I know no other interpretation than that the former skull comes from a female individual of Bos etruscus; so therefore in the oldest representative known till now of the genus Bos, the female sex appears unarmed, hornless.

An example of a similar sort is found in the genus Sus: in a number of fossilised, mostly Miocene species (Sus antiquus of Eppelsheim, S. provincialis of Montpellier, S. erymanthius of Pikermi, S. choeroides of Monte Bamboli, etc)7 both sexes appear to have had only small canines, which could by no means serve as weapons. Of the last two species in particular, the remains of dozens of individuals have been found: the canines were always tiny & barely stood out above the level of the other teeth.—

I shall have the honour of sending you a publication referring to these facts in the near future.8

Please accept the assurance of my highest respect & veneration.

C.J. Forsyth Major.

No. 11, Via Solferino. | Pisa.

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see pp. 450–1.
Expression was published in November 1872 (Freeman 1977). The German translation was made by Julius Victor Carus (Carus trans. 1872b).
Major studied at Basel, Tübingen, and Göttingen (Stehlin 1925).
Guelfo Cavanna was assistant to Sebastino Richiardi, professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at Pisa (Balducci 1921).
Major refers to the valley of the river Arno in Tuscany.
Ludwig Rütimeyer described a skull of Bos etruscus at the natural history museum, Florence, in Rütimeyer 1867, pp. 71–7, and table 1 figs. 3–5.
Sus antiquus is now Microstonyx antiquus; S. provincialis is now Propotamochoerus provincialis; S. erymanthius is now Microstonyx major erymanthius; S. choeroides is now Eumaiochoerus etruscus.
Major later sent CD an offprint of his article on the vertebrate fauna of Monte Bamboli, in which he argued that the absence of large canines in the fossil pigs he had studied was evidence in favour of sexual selection, since only males later developed large canines (Major 1873, p. 295). CD scored these passages in his separately paginated offprint, now in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.

Bibliography

Balducci, Enrico. 1921. Guelfo Cavanna. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale 3d ser. 9 (1920–2): 194–207.

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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Major, Charles Immanuel Forsyth. 1873. La faune des vertébrés de Monte Bamboli. Atti della Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali 15 (1872–3): 290–503.

Stehlin, H. G. 1925. C. J. Forsyth Major. Verhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Basel 36 (1924–5): 1–23.

Summary

Asks permission to translate Expression into German. Will superintend an Italian translation.

Informs CD of hornless fossil Bos etruscus and Miocene fossils of genus Sus [see Descent, 2d ed., pp. 505, 521].

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-8564
From
Charles Immanuel Forsyth Major
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Pisa
Source of text
DAR 88: 123–4
Physical description
4pp (German) †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8564,” accessed on 17 October 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-8564.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20

letter