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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Yarrell   [December 1838]

Zoological memorandum—

For Chas. Darwin Esqr.—from Mr. Wm. Yarrell—

Extract from a paper “On the Wild Cattle of Chillingham Park— by L. Hindmarsh Esqr of Alnwick.1

“By taking the calves at a very early age and treating them gently, the present Keeper succeeded in domesticating an ox and a cow. They became as tame as domestic animals, and the ox fed as rapidly as a short horned steer. He lived 18 years, and when at his best was computed at 8 cwt and 14 lbs. The cow only lived 5 or 6 years. She gave little milk, but the quality was rich. She was crossed by a country bull; but her progeny very closely resembled herself, being entirely white, excepting the ears, which were brown,* and the legs which were mottled.— Annals of Nat. Hist— p. 279 & 280. Decr. 1st. 1838.2

*The character of the whole breed— Y.

CD annotations

Verso of memorandum: ‘Dr Knox read a paper on this subject before Edinburgh Soc. April 1838.— referred to in L’Institut p. 383.—1838—’3 ink


Hindmarsh 1839. Chillingham Park was the estate of the Earl of Tankerville.
See Variation 1: 84 n.: ‘The fullest account of the Chillingham cattle is given by Mr. Hindmarsh, together with a letter by the late Lord Tankerville, in “Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist.,” vol ii., 1839, p. 274.’
In L’Institut, 1st Section, No. 256, 22 November 1838, p. 383, there is a report of Robert Knox’s paper ‘Sur le boeuf sauvage de l’Ecosse’, which was read at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 2 April 1838.


Hindmarsh, Luke. 1839. On the wild cattle of Chillingham Park. Annals of Natural History 2: 274–84.

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


A "Zoological memorandum" for CD with an extract from L. Hindmarsh, "On the wild cattle of Chillingham Park" [Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. 2 (1838): 274–84].

Letter details

Letter no.
William Yarrell
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 205.7: 286
Physical description
Amem 1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 467,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2