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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Rolleston   24 August [1876]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S. E. R.

Aug 24

My dear Sir

I write one line, though you kindly tell me not to do so, to thank you for your notes & essays.2 I am pleased to hear about the appendages in S. verrucosus, as possibly reversion may account for the odd manner in which these appendages appear in the domestic races. Considering how much structure they exhibit, their sudden appearance has caused me some perplexity.3

I shd. have been not only pleased, but delighted, at what you say about S. verrucosus had it not been that apparently similar appendages occasionally appear on the necks of goats; & the idea of reversion to a common progenitor of goats & pigs stumps me. I wish I had given a fuller account instead of only mentioning these goat-appendages in the 2d. Edit. of my Var. under Dom. Vol I. p. 106.— Drawings were sent me with the account, & I have no doubt that the account was authentic.—4

I am extremely glad that you have taken up the parentage of some of our domestic animals.

Pray believe me | Yours sincerely & obliged | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from George Rolleston, 18 August 1876.
See letter from George Rolleston, 18 August 1876 and nn. 2 and 3. Males of Sus verrucosus (the Javan warty pig) have facial appendages similar to those in a domestic breed, the Irish greyhound pig.
See Variation 2d ed. 1: 106. CD had received a letter and sketch from H. Ramu (who has not been identified) describing the maxillary appendages of domestic goats native to Lorraine in France (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter from H. Ramu, 9 September 1871). The sketch has not been found.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.


Thanks GR for his notes and essays [see 10581].

Similar appendages to those GR mentions [see 10581] appear on the necks of goats, but the idea of reversion to a common progenitor of goats and pigs "stumps" CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Rolleston
Sent from
Source of text
George family (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10582F,” accessed on 28 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24