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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. R. Waterhouse   [7 March 1855]

– be sent tomorrow—

I have lately been studying the head of the Ichthyosaurus1 — how like it is in all its superficial characters to the Cetacean skull, and yet in essential—or type characters, it is totally different— even the upper jaw of the one, is not the upper jaw of the other— the snout with its teeth in the Ichthyosaurus is made up of the intermaxillaries in the Cetacean it is the maxillaries—&c— I don’t know a grander example of difference of types, (combined with much superficial resemblance), than is offered by the two beasts—

Yours faithfully | Geo. R. Waterhouse

CD annotations

scored pencil
End of letter: ‘11’2 brown crayon, circled brown crayon


A genus of extinct marine animals combining the characters of saurian reptiles with some features of whales.
CD’s portfolio containing notes and references pertaining to classification.


Comparison of skulls of Ichthyosaurus and Cetacea.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Robert Waterhouse
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181: 20
Physical description
2pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1642,” accessed on 5 December 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5