skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Dawkins   30 [August 1867]1

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


My dear Sir

Excuse me for troubling you with one line as a suggestion, viz to collect hereafter all the facts on the changes in the skulls or skeletons of animals long confined, but not generated in menageries, & publish a short separate paper on subject.—2 I am pretty well read up on such subjects, & I believe the fact to be as new as it is surprising.—

In Haste | My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters from W. B. Dawkins, 27 August 1867 and 7 September 1867 (Correspondence vol. 15).
In his letter of 27 August 1867 (Correspondence vol. 15), Dawkins discussed the effect of captivity in modifying skull shape in hyaenas and remarked that he found the bones of menagerie animals useless for comparison. In his reply to this letter, Dawkins agreed to take up CD’s suggestion, but no paper on the subject by Dawkins has been found (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter from W. B. Dawkins, 7 September 1867).


Suggests Dawkins publish a paper on new facts on changes in the skeletal structure of animals kept but not bred in captivity.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5618F,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18 (Supplement)