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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Armand de Quatrefages   14 May [1863]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

May 14th.—

Dear Sir

I send by this Post two Photographs (by Book Post) of the nãta Skull.1 The delay in getting them made was caused by the Photographer.— Mr. Flower, the Curator of the Museum (whose name you will know in connection with the Brain discussion) has been very kind in aiding me for your sake.2 He informs me that you could have a Cast made, but it would cost £3〃s3〃d0, & there would be the expence of a large Box, & the cost of carriage.— Perhaps you will not think the skull worth all this expence; but if you do, Mr Flower will get one made & sent to the museum.—

With sincere respect | Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


See letter from W. H. Flower, 9 May 1863, and letter to W. H. Flower, 12 May [1863]. CD refers to the controversy that followed the publication of Owen 1857, in which Richard Owen argued that humans should be classified as a distinct sub-class of mammals (‘Archencephela’), because their brain anatomy differed markedly from that of apes. William Henry Flower showed that the anatomical criteria selected by Owen did not provide a reliable basis for a taxonomic distinction between humans and simians (Flower 1862). On Flower’s contribution to the brain controversy, see Rupke 1994, p. 292, and L. G. Wilson 1996b, p. 201.


Flower, William Henry. 1862. On the posterior lobes of the cerebrum of the Quadrumana. [Read 9 January 1862.] Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 152: 185–201.

Rupke, Nicolaas A. 1994. Richard Owen, Victorian naturalist. New Haven, Conn., and London: Yale University Press.


Is sending photographs of the niata skull [requested in 4082]. W. H. Flower reports that he could have a cast made for £3.3s.0d.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Jean Louis Armand (Armand de Quatrefages) Quatrefages de Bréau
Sent from
MY 14 63
Source of text
Sotheby’s, New York (dealers) (1997)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4166A,” accessed on 28 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11