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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   9 October [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct 9th

My dear Huxley

Will you have kindness to tell me where you have published any notice of the affinities of the (Eocene?) Cetacean Zeuglodon to Seals.— I want to put in new Edit. of Origin a single sentence, showing that in some slight degree Zeuglodon is an intermediate form, & I do not know how far I may venture.2 To save me hunting up your Bird paper, be, also, so very kind, as to mark “yes” on enclosed sentence if it is correct.—3

Forgive me | Ever yours | C. Darwin

Ever since I wrote to you last, I have had 2 letters & seen some printed notices, showing how profound an impression Mivart’s book has made.—4 Believe how I rejoice in your splendid, (as Hooker expresses it) “essay—critique—exposition—discussion—enquiry— you may read for one & all these aims.”—5


The year is established by the reference to the sixth edition of Origin, which was published in February 1872 (Freeman 1977).
CD added the following sentence to Origin 6th ed., p. 302: ‘The cetaceans or whales are widely different from all other mammals, but the tertiary Zeuglodon and Squalodon, which have been placed by some naturalists in an order by themselves, are considered by Professor Huxley to be undoubtedly cetaceans, “and to constitute connecting links with the aquatic carnivora.’” The extinct Eocene cetacean genus Zeuglodon is now known as Basilosaurus; Squalodon is from the early Oligocene to middle Miocene.
The enclosure has not been found, but see the letter from T. H. Huxley, 10 October 1871. CD’s copy of Huxley’s paper on the classification of birds (T. H. Huxley 1867) in his unbound journals (Darwin Library–CUL) is lightly annotated.
CD last wrote to Huxley on 5 October 1871. The letters CD received have not been identified. CD refers to St George Jackson Mivart’s Genesis of species (Mivart 1871a).
CD refers to Joseph Dalton Hooker and to Huxley’s review of Mivart 1871a (T. H. Huxley 1871b); see letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 October 1871].


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.

Huxley, Thomas Henry. 1867. On the classification of birds; and on the taxonomic value of the modifications of certain of the cranial bones observable in that class. [Read 11 April 1867.] Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1867): 415–72.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Asks whether THH has written on affinities of Eocene cetacean Zeuglodon. Wants to cite it in 6th ed. of Origin as in some slight degree an intermediate form, but does not know how far he may venture.

Has had more evidence of profound impression of Mivart’s book [Genesis of species].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 289)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7995,” accessed on 16 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19