RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [1858.10.23-11.13]. Draft of Origin of species, Sect. VI, folio 212. CUL-DAR157.3. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe. RN3

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin. "Lady Barlow has presented five-and-a-half sheets of the 1859 manuscript of The Origin of Species, noting that these were 'rescued from under the stairs at Down by my Aunt, Mrs Litchfield'." Cambridge University Reporter, Part 2, 1959, p. 1807.

See the introduction to the Origin of species drafts by John van Wyhe

The text of the draft corresponds to Origin, Chapter VI, Difficulties on theory, p. 193.


[pencil insertion by Nora Barlow?:] 3


Sect VI. Means of Transition

organ, closely analogous to the electric apparatus, & yet are not known were found by Matteuchi not too discharge any electricity; we must owne own that we are too ignorant on what subjects to speculate on the probable means of transition to argue against the probability of transitions of some kind.)

(The electric fishes organs of fish offer another & even ques more serious difficulty; for these occur in only about a dozen members of that great class fishes, & some of these are almost as remote as possible from each other in their great class. Generally when the same organ appears in several members of a class, especially if they have very different habits, we attribute its presence to inheritance from a common ancestor; & its absence in a few scattered members to its subsequent loss. But from the extreme rarity of the electric organs in fishes fish; & their occurrence at such remote points in the scale, together with and what is known on fossil fishes, taken together make such an explanation would not be such a supposition extremely improbable. The presence of luminous organs in a few insects of very different orders is a parallel case, & some others could be given; for instance in plants, the very curious contrivance of the



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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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