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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Albert Günther   28 April 1874

British Museum

28.4.74

My dear Sir

Many thanks for your kindness in sending me a copy of the ‘Journal’. I am ashamed to say that I was ignorant of the existence of this recent edition which contains important additional remarks regarding the Galapagos.1 I cannot help thinking that the fauna of these Oceanic Islands, facts like those of the existence of the large Tortoises in the Galapagos and Mascarenes, are the strings by the aid of which we may be guided to an understanding of the forces of the creation & distribution of animal life.

Of course, now-a-days, we can account for the coexistence of different ‘species’ in the different islands of one & the same group. Also the existence of such giants of their kind in small islands can be understood, strange as it is. But the existence of an identical type (generic, not specific) in islands so distant, as Mauritius & the Galapagos, is a fact which requires a wild hypothesis2

Yours very truly | A Günther

Footnotes

Journal of researches had been published with a new postscript in 1860; this was reprinted in 1870 (Journal of researches (1860) and (1870); see Freeman 1977). In the postscript, CD noted that several bird species previously thought to be endemic to the Galápagos Islands were found on the American continent, and that one or two endemic forms should probably be ranked as varieties (Journal of researches (1870), p. vii).
Günther later published a detailed account of the species of giant tortoise inhabiting the Galápagos Islands and the Mascarene Islands (see A. C. L. G. Günther 1875 and 1877).

Bibliography

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.

Günther, Albert Charles Lewis Gotthilf. 1875. The gigantic land tortoises of the Mascarene and Galapagos Islands. Nature, 22 July 1875, pp. 238–9; 29 July 1875, pp. 259–61; 12 August 1875, pp. 296–7.

Journal of researches (1860): Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle around the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. By Charles Darwin. Reprint edition. London: John Murray. 1860.

Journal of researches (1870): Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. By Charles Darwin. New edition. London: John Murray. 1870.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

Summary

Thanks for recent edition of CD’s Journal of researches.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9432
From
Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
British Museum
Source of text
DAR 165: 255
Physical description
3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9432,” accessed on 9 August 2020, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-9432.xml

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

letter