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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Rolleston   16 April 1861


April 16. 1861.

My dear Sir—

I write a single line to say that I do not see in your Index to the “Origin of Species” any reference to the point of the “Variability of Rudimentary organs”— This point you touch upon in Pages 149 & 168. And it may be illustrated in the concrete from Leuckart in the Cyclopædia of Anatomy Article “Vesicula Prostatica” p. 1424,1 & from Leydig Zeitschrift Wiss. Zoologie ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠.1.38. ‘a propos of the same structure—2

Yours very Truly | George Rolleston—

CD annotations

Top of first page: ‘10’3 red crayon


Leuckart 1852. The article by the German comparative anatomist Rudolph Leuckart was published in volume 4 of Robert Bentley Todd’s The cyclopaedia of anatomy and physiology (London, 1835–59). CD referred to this work in the discussion of rudimentary structures associated with the reproductive system of man in Descent 1: 31.
The number of one of CD’s portfolios of notes in which he kept information relating to rudimentary structures or abortive organs. Many of the notes in DAR 205.1 are so marked.


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

Leuckart, Rudolf. 1852. Vesicula prostatica. In vol. 4 of The cyclopaedia of anatomy and physiology, edited by Robert Bentley Todd. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans.

Leydig, Franz. 1850. Zur Anatomie der männlichen Geschlechtsorgane und Analdrüsen der Säugethiere. Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie 2: 1–57.


Index of Origin does not refer to variability of rudimentary organs mentioned at pp. 149, 168. Offers references to Rudolf Leuckart and to Franz von Leydig to support CD’s point.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Rolleston
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 176: 206
Physical description
ALS 1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3120,” accessed on 4 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9