To Frederick McCoy   2 December 1857

2. Dec 57

Dear Prof. M'Coy,

These bone-fragments came from the Rev. Mr Woods of Penola in a letter[.]1 They were found by himself imbedded in limestone, about 1' below the surface.

What is your opinion of cameels as travellers over a rocky country? I must say with Tacitus relata refero2 when I made my statements on the comparative value of cameels to that of horses before the Institute.3 It was however but one of the objections, that on which I have been put right.

yours obediently

& attached Ferd Mueller

editorial addition. Letter not found.
'I [only] report what I've been told', a technique frequently used by Tacitus to work in incriminating suggestions without evidence.
'The use of camels in our deserts has been recommended, but when it is considered that much of the Australian interior is of a stony, and not of a sandy nature, that these animals require a management of their own, and cannot roam about by night to find food, being deprived only of their freedom by the hobble chain — I still believe that horses will remain preferable, if kept shod constantly.' (B58.13.04, p. 166).

Please cite as “FVM-57-12-02,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 23 October 2021,