RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1868. [Enquiry on horns in male and female sheep]. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette (21 November): 1218.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here.

The editors of the Correspondence note of this letter "In Descent 1: 286, CD suggested that a character that appeared at an early age would tend to be inherited equally by both sexes; in ibid., p. 289, he noted that, contrary to the general rule, he had found no evidence that merinos developed their horns later than sheep breeds in which both sexes had horns." Correspondence vol. 16, p. 847.

[page] 1218

— Mr. DARWIN, writing from "Down, Bromley, Kent, S.E." makes the following request, for which we bespeak the favourable attention of our readers:—

"I should be greatly obliged to anyone who keeps Merino sheep, or any other breed in which the ewes are hornless, or to any one who has the power of inquiring about such breeds, if he would take the trouble to inform me at what age the horns first appear in the young rams, or acquire a certain specified length, in comparison with other breeds of sheep in which both sexes possess horns. Or, to put the case more generally, is there any difference in the period of development of the horns in the breeds in which they are common to both sexes, and in those in which they are confined to the males? I am anxious for information on this head, as I believe such facts have an important bearing on an obscure point in inheritance."

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

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