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April 1970

Darwin's Tubercle Belongs to Woolner

Arch Otolaryngol. 1970;91(4):334-335. doi:10.1001/archotol.1970.00770040492005

AT THE Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital, Alton, England, in 1949, during an otoplasty procedure, Prof T. P. Kilner mentioned that the prominence of the auricular helix generally referred to as Darwin's tubercle was actually first described by Woolner. No references were given and no further action taken. Twenty years later, in 1969, at the University of Miami School of Medicine, during an otoplasty procedure where one of these tubercles required removal to achieve cosmetic symmetry with the opposite auricle, Darwin's priority was again questioned. On this occasion a search of the literature was instigated.

Research1 revealed that 100 years ago Darwin and Woolner lived in London and it is likely they met occasionally over a pint of bitters at the Garrick Club frequented by artists, authors, and actors. Thomas Woolner, a sculptor and poet and later destined to be a Professor of the Royal Academy, had become known for