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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Wilhelm Bernhard Rudolph Hadrian Dunker1   20 September 1850

7 Park Stt. Grosvenor Sqr | London2

Much honoured Sir

I received this morning your letter of the 6th of June & a Box of fossil Cirripedia from my friend Mr J. Morris.3 The fossils have arrived quite safely.— I beg to thank you with the utmost cordiality for this act of kindness: I will take the greatest care of the specimens, & return them you in a month or two’s time, when I have completed the engravings for the Fossil Part of my Monograph.— I particularly request you to give my sincere thanks to Mm. Roemer & Philippi.—4 I know your drawings & descriptions of P. Hausmanni in the work on the Oolithgebirges,5 than which nothing can be better.—

I am making considerable progess in my monograph; I have described 38 fossil Pedunculated Cirripedia; all the recent Pedunculata including the animal’s body, & I have just finished with the 45th. species of the great & difficult genus of Balanus.— I should esteem it a great favour & most valuable aid if you would entrust me with your collection of recent species; but you will almost certainly object to send me unique specimens, when I tell you that I cannot recognise the species, & will never name any species, without disarticulating one specimen; I can, however, almost always gum together the valves so that they look nearly as well as ever.— I have, also, resolved in hardly any case to name a sessile Cirripede without the operculum.—6 I care comparatively little for specimens without their habitats.— I can assure you the genus Balanus is so difficult, that it is folly to attempt describing the species without the opercula; all the species are subject to much variation.—

If you could persuade the distinguished Philippi to send me a specimen (allowing me to disarticulate it) of the Mediterranean species which he has named,7 it would be doing me the greatest service; for I earnestly wish to avoid renaming a known species—

I am very sorry to hear that your health has been indifferent; it makes your kind assistance to me the more generous.—

With the utmost respect | Yours truly obliged | C. Darwin

Pray thank Romer & Philippi.—

Any parcel addressed as at the head of this letter, will reach me.— Sept. 20th. 1850.—


See Fossil Cirripedia (1851): vi for CD’s acknowledgment of Dunker’s assistance.
CD was in fact writing from Down. He gave Erasmus Alvey Darwin’s address for the reason given at the end of the letter.
John Morris.
Friedrich Adolph Roemer and Rudolph Amandus Philippi.
Koch and Dunker 1837, p. 52, Tab. vi, fig. 6; cited in Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 53.
Pollicipes carinatus, which was described in Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 60–1 from a specimen supplied by Philippi.


Fossil Cirripedia (1851): A monograph on the fossil Lepadidæ, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1851.

Fossil Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the fossil Balanidæ and Verrucidæ of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1854.

Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.


Thanks for fossil cirripede specimens.

Describes progress on his book [Fossil Cirripedia] and his work on living cirripedes. Asks to borrow specimens.

Comments on book [F. C. L. Koch and Wilhelm Dunker, Norddeutschen Oolithgebildes (1837)].

Sends thanks to Friedrich Adolph Roemer and R. A. Philippi for specimens.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Wilhelm Bernhard Rudolph Hadrian Wilhelm (Wilhelm) Dunker
Sent from
London, Park St, 7
Source of text
Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen (NKS 4941 I, 4to)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1359,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4