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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. H. Flower   27 September 1876

Royal College of Surgeons of England. | Lincoln’s Inn Fields, | (W.C.)

27thday of Sep 1876.

My dear Mr. Darwin

I am very glad to find that more of the South American extinct animals are being brought to light— It is an excellent work and I trust that M. Van de Weyde’s researches, will be extended, as you suggest, to the true tertiary beds.1 These ought to yield most important results, as everything hitherto found in them has been of extreme interest. Nesodon & Homatodeutotherium must have had numerous relations living with or near them—2 The Toxodon skull, as shown in the photograph is very fine & perfect— the rest appear to be nearly all Mylodon—certainly the femur tibia & phalanges—and probably the jaw marked with a cross.3 If not Mylodon it is a closely allied form, but the small photograph alone is not sufficient to determine its specific characters. I shall be glad to keep them, as you kindly permit.

We have all been for six weeks in Germany, in the volcanic country at Laach near Coblenz,4 and had a very pleasant holiday.

On our return my wife & I were much shocked & grieved at hearing the terrible loss that your son Frank had suffered.5 We feel most deeply for him and all of you. With our united kind regards & sympathy | Believe me | your’s very truly | W. H. Flower

CD annotations

1.7 the rest … form, 1.9] scored red crayon


See letter to W. H. Flower, 24 September [1876]. John van der Weyde had sent CD photographs of fossils found near Montevideo.
Nesodon and Homalodotherium are genera of Miocene mammals of the extinct order Notoungulata.
See letter to W. H. Flower, 24 September [1876] and n. 3. Toxodon is a genus of rhinoceros-like mammals of the extinct order Notoungulata; Mylodon is a genus of giant ground sloth of the extinct family Mylodontidae. CD had collected the first specimens of Mylodon at Bahia Blanca in Patagonia; they were described by Richard Owen (see Fossil Mammalia, pp. 63–73).
The Laach (Laacher See) is a large caldera lake in the Eifel mountain range, part of the east Eifel volcanic field; it is about fifteen miles north-west of Koblenz.
Francis Darwin’s wife, Amy Darwin, died on 11 September 1876; a notice of her death was published in The Times, 13 September 1876, p. 1. Flower’s wife was Georgiana Rosetta Flower.


Fossil Mammalia: Pt 1 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle … during the years 1831 to 1836. By Richard Owen. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–43.


Identifies South American fossils in photographs sent by John Van der Weyde.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Henry Flower
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Royal College of Surgeons
Source of text
DAR 164: 141
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10620,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

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