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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. V. Carus   21 January 1873


Jan. 21 st. 1873.

My dear Sir,

I am sorry to be obliged to trouble you, but there is a mistake on p 289 of Vol. I of the Variation under Domestication, which I should not like to alter without having asked you.1

You give figures of cervical vertebrae (Fig 40) and in the text you say “the twelfth cervical vertebra of the Call-duck (fig 40.B)” as compared with the same vertebra of the wild Duck (fig. 40.A). Further on you say: “I thought it worth while to give a sketch of the eighth vertebra in” the Aylesbury and wild Duck (fig 40.D. and C.). In the figure these latter vertebrae (D and C) are larger, therefore they most likely represent vertebrae which are posterior in position to those figured in A and B. According to them the explanation of the figure (in small print under the wood cut) seems to be right; it states, that A and B are the eighth, C and D the twelfth vertebrae. Yet this is in opposition to the explanation given in the text. Now, have I to alter the text (l. 7 p 283 from the bottom: “eighth” cervical vertebra, instead of twelfth, and l. 6 p. 284 from top: “twelfth” cervical, instead of eighth), or is the explanation of the Fig 40 to be altered: A. twelfth etc. C. eighth etc. The first way seems to be the right one.

You would oblige me exceedingly if you would kindly help me out of this.

Believe me | My dear Sir, | Yours ever sincerely | J. Victor Carus


Carus was working on the second edition of his German translation of Variation (Carus trans. 1873). The errors he mentions are in Variation 1: 283–4 and were corrected in Variation 2d ed. 1: 298.


Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

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


On a correction JVC thinks should be made in Variation on vertebrae of ducks.

Letter details

Letter no.
Julius Victor Carus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 90
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8746,” accessed on 24 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21