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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Leonard Rudd   12 April 1874

Guy’s Hospital | London S.E.

April 12. 1874.


I venture to bring to your notice a fact which came under my observation and which may be of some interest to you.— On Good friday last a man came to me in the Surgery complaining of kicks in the ribs & groin. I stripped him and found that he had besides the two normal nipples upon the chest, two others placed below them; one, that on the left, was as nearly as I could judge, 412 in: below and in the direct mammary line: that on the right was 12 in: lower and 12 in: outside the mammary line. Both the supernumerary nipples with their areolæ were smaller than the two normal ones, the left was better developed than the right. But the man stated to me, they changed their size at each month, and had done so “as long as he remembered certainly for 20 years”.1 At the same intervals he had a feeling of a lump in his throat—the “globus Hystericus” as I understand it.

He was a well formed man about 48— 5.10 high— had enjoyed good health— had been a soldier, & served his time— had been in India.

I am | Sir— | yours faithfully | Leonard Rudd | Surgeons Dresser to Mr. Bryant.2

Charles Darwin Esq.

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Extra Nipples’ pencil below pencil del pencil ‘Abnor’


CD discussed mammary glands and nipples in male mammals in Descent 1: 30–1 and 209–11. See also Descent 2d ed., p. 36 n. 38.
Thomas Bryant was a surgeon at Guy’s Hospital.


Descent 2d ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. London: John Murray. 1874.

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


On supernumerary mammae in a male patient.

Letter details

Letter no.
Leonard Rudd
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Guy’s Hospital
Source of text
DAR 87: 168–9
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9405,” accessed on 23 January 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22