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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   6 December [1855]

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 6th.

My dear Sir

Thank you much for taking the trouble of sending me the canines, & which I hope will arrive safely, & for answering so fully my queries. I was interested by stumbling on 4 variations in the Cat, within the course of six weeks, viz long tails in W. Indies,—curiously backward sloping tails,—tufted ears, & your case.—1

When I asked for the Ghoondok bird,2 I stupidly quite forgot that you would of course want it for your own work.— Pray do not think of troubling yourself to send me a M.S. account, for it will do exactly as well, or better, whenever you print.—3 At some future time, when I have got several skeletons together I daresay you would lend me the skeleton for a few days to compare with such others as I may have got together. Would you like to examine the head of my wild Jungle Fowl from India?4 But it would require a little cleaning.— I could send it in Box by Post, & you could return it same way, or leave it at my Brothers House at any time near Cavendish Square.— But I do not know whether it would aid you or not.— You could if you liked see whole skeleton, but this is too large for Post.—

With many thanks | Your’s very truly | C. Darwin

I sometimes send little notices to Gardeners’ Chronicle, but I have never communicated anything but trifles.—


Sent by Edward Blyth from India (letter from Edward Blyth, 22–3 August 1855). This was the wild Gallus bankiva, described in Variation 1: 233–6 as the possible ancestor of the domestic breeds of fowl.


Tegetmeier, William Bernhard. 1856. On the remarkable peculiarities existing in the skulls of the feather-crested variety of the domestic fowl, now known as the Polish. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 24: 366–8.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Variation in cats.

Is comparing skeletons of poultry.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1791,” accessed on 4 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5