10-Jan-1860: Darwin to Lyell

Charles Lyell
Charles Lyell (1797–1875)

On 10th January 1860, Charles Darwin wrote to his good friend the geologist Charles Lyell, humorously describing mankind’s ancestor.

Our ancestor was an animal which breathed water, had a swim-bladder, a great swimming tail, an imperfect skull & undoubtedly was an hermaphrodite! Here is a pleasant genealogy for mankind.-

The full text of this letter is available on the Darwin Correspondence Project website

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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