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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. E. Dobson   25 May [1874]

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 25

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your kind note & paper. I read long ago with great interest your paper in the Proc. Z. Soc., & have corrected my blunders in a new Edit. of the Descent now prepared.1 It is some excuse for me that I found well-instructed mammalogists, as ignorant as myself.— I daresay I do not fully see the point, but there seems to me nothing strange in Geckos, inhabiting a forest-clad land, having suckers & no claws to their feet, for, if I remember rightly Hylæ have no claws.—2

Dear Sir | Yours faithfully & obliged | Ch. Darwin


See letter from G. E. Dobson, 23 May 1874. Dobson 1873 appeared in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. CD cited the paper in Descent 2d ed., pp. 218, 529, and 534, in support of his argument that male bats were lighter in colour than females in more species than he had asserted in first edition (Descent 2: 286), and that male bats possessed scent glands and pouches that become enlarged in the breeding season.
See letter from G. E. Dobson, 23 May 1874 and n. 4. Hyla is a genus of tree frogs.


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.

Dobson, G. E. 1873. On secondary sexual characters in the Chiroptera. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1873): 241–52.


Thanks for note and paper ["Secondary sexual characters in Cheiroptera", Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. (1873): 241–52].

Has corrected error in new edition of Descent [1874].

Sees nothing strange in geckos inhabiting frost-clad land and having no claws.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Edward Dobson
Sent from
MY 25 74
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9467,” accessed on 24 February 2020,

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