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Darwin Correspondence Project

From R. B. Litchfield   26 February 1873

A friend tells me of follg. errata in “Descent”. Ed. 1871 Perhaps they’ve been since corrected

Vol. II.
p. 65. Platycercus is spelt, in margin, platycerus.1
p. 240 4th. line from bottom The word Elephus shd. be elaphus [ελαφος] not, as in the errata, elaphas2
p. 44 line 24 ortygornis shd. be divided thus: ortyg-ornis— not as it is orty-gornis3
I. 354 qy shd. not phasgonoura be phasganoura?4


CD annotations

Vol. II.... platycerus.] del ink


The misspelling is in the text that accompanies the image (fig. 44) of wing feathers of male and female Selasphorus platycercus (the broad-tailed hummingbird). The spelling is correct in Descent 2d ed., p. 378.
The reference is to Cervus elaphus (the red deer). In Descent 2: 240, n. 2, the word is spelled elephus; in the errata (Descent 2: iv), the spelling is changed to elaphas. In Descent 2d ed., p. 501, n. 3, the spelling is correct.
In Descent 2d ed., p. 363, the name Ortygornis is not split.
Litchfield evidently refers to Phasgonura viridissima (now Tettigona viridissima, the great green bush-cricket). CD’s spelling (Phasgonura) was correct.


Descent 2d ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. London: John Murray. 1874.

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


Additional errata in Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Richard Buckley Litchfield
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 88: 126
Physical description
ApcS †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8787,” accessed on 19 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21