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Charles Darwin Letters

[Letter, Charles R. Darwin to John Burdon-Sanderson, October 13, 1874] Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 Oct 13, 1874

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 Down  Beckenham, Kent   Oct 13. 1874  My dear Dr Sanderson  Many thanks for your suggestion but I doubt whether it is sufficient.  The tentacles close very slowly over the 5 specified substances, & this might be accounted for by their pure state.  But the important fact is that they subsequently re-expand so much more quickly than over minute insects, meat albumen etc.  It is chiefly this latter fact which makes me conclude that the 5 substances are but little exciting & probably not very nutritious.  I made so many experiments with gelatine that I can hardly doubt that this conclusion is true with this substance.  Klein speaks (Handbook Phys. p445) as if areolar (or connective) tissue & the fibrous basis of bone, were of a gelatinous nature, & this made me suppose that perhaps fibrin & fibro-cartilage were likewise allied to gelatine; & as gelatine is so little nutritious to animals, I imagine that the little action of these 5 substances on drosera might be thus explained.  My best plan would be, I think, never to call attention to the small power of the 5 substances on drosera, and to say (if you admit the truth of my inference from Klein) areolar tissue & the fibrous basis of bone were allied to gelatine, & that gelatine was little nutritious to animals. I fear from what you say that I may not add that fibrin & fibro-cartilage (& god knows what is the nature of fibro-cartilage?) were likewise allied to gelatine.  If you have anything further to remark I shd be grateful for a note.  With many thanks,  Yours very sincerely,  Ch Darwin


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