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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   21 February [1868]1

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

Feb 21.

My dear Sir

I have received & thank you most sincerely for the Horse returns: they are very interesting to me, & practically show the proportion of sexes nearly equal.2 I am in no hurry, so do the work whenever you have leisure & inclination.— I shd be very glad if you will undertake cattle as well as Horses & Dogs.—3 I presume that no materials exist for Sheep.—4

I suppose you are too busy a man to try whether a magenta-coloured pigeon would please or disgust his associates.5

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I will almost certainly publish your results, so that your labour under a public point of view will not be thrown away.

I returned this morning the Coursing Calendar to Field office—6


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 15 February [1868].
Tegetmeier had agreed to collect information on the proportion of the sexes in thoroughbred horses using the record of births in the Racing Calendar (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [before 15 February 1868] and n. 5). Tegetmeier’s memorandum on horses has not been found; see, however, the letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [16–20 February 1868] and n. 2.
CD acknowledged various sources of information on sex ratios in sheep in Descent 1: 305 n. 41.
CD had first asked Tegetmeier to perform this experiment in March 1867 (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 30 March [1867] and n. 6). CD reported the results in Descent 2: 118.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Thanks WBT for tabulation of sex ratios in racehorses.

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. 5906,” accessed on 2 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16