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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Edmund Mojsisovics von Mojsvár   6 June 1878


June 6th. 1878.

Dear Sir!

With expressions of the sincerest feelings of gratitude I have read over and over your very kind letters of the 2d. ult. and 1st. inst.— Allow me to thank you most heartily for those words of appreciation, which you so kindly devoted to my late work.1 These words are to me the highest price and the greatest gratification, which ever I dreamt to earn.

There is at this present period little chance among Geologists to make proselytes. A new theory and a good cause requires always time to penetrate into and to secure general acknowledgement.

The first steps to be taken will be the task to demonstrate and explain in single instances the high value and the importance of this views. And it appears to me in that respect, that no subject, than the triasic formations of our Alpine countries, is more fit to attain in an excellent way the mentioned purpose. With my work “The Dolomite Reefs” I have purposed to lay the foundation to the theory of the heteropic formations, showing unmistakable instances.2

Your remarks about the scarcity of intermediate forms between diverse species of marine Organisms in the same bed and the same place agree generally with our experiences.3 It is necessary, to search frequently the derivated isopic fauna at distant places of the same isotopic Region, and this search is indispensable on account of the heteropic changes on different places in the same marine Province. This difficulty grows, as it appears with the extent of the Provinces.— Wherever isopic formations follow without break, we always find in our mesozoic formations on the same places a smaller or greater number of derivated forms.

If your most valuable time would once more allow it to take my work up again, I would ask the favour to devote a little attention to the illustration of the alpine formations, particularly to that of the Trias, in the 3d. Chapter of my book.4

The abroad very little known peculiarities of the alpine formations, and which peculiarities are of the extremest interest to modern science, were the source, which led me by degrees to my views, laid down in the first chapter of my work.

With the reiterated expressions of thanks for your kindness I remain, dear Sir, with the highest respects | Yours faithfully | Dr. Edmund von Mojsisovics


CD sent comments on Mojsisovics von Mojsvár’s book Die Dolomit-Riffe von Südtirol und Venetien (The Dolomite reefs of South Tyrol and Veneto; Mojsisovics von Mojsvár 1878–9) with his letter to Mojsisovics von Mojsvár of 1 June 1878; his letter of 2 May has not been found.
Mojsisovics von Mojsvár’s method of determining the age of geological formations relied on fossil evidence from disturbed strata. He coined the terms ‘isomesisch’ and ‘heteromesisch’, ‘isotopisch’ and ‘heterotopisch’, ‘isopisch’ and ‘heteropisch’ to refer to material (composition), geographical (provinces) and spatial (formations) contexts, respectively (see Mojsisovics von Mojsvár 1878–9, pp. 6–7).


Mojsisovics von Mojsvár, Edmund. 1878–9. Die Dolomit-Riffe von Südtirol und Venetien: Beiträge zur Bildungsgeschichte der Alpen. Wien: Alfred Hölder.


Pleased with CD’s praise of his work. He agrees with CD that intermediate marine fossils are rare in the same bed. The difficulty is overcome by extensive search of "isotopic" fauna in different beds of the same "isotopic" region.

Letter details

Letter no.
Johann August Georg Edmund (Edmund) Mojsisovics von Mojsvár
Charles Robert Darwin
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Source of text
DAR 171: 227
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11544,” accessed on 27 September 2021,