During many years I collected notes on the origin or descent of man, without any intention of publishing on the subject, but rather with the determination not to publish, as I thought that I should thus only add to the prejudices against my views.Charles Darwin, 1871
The year 1871 was an important one for the discipline of anthropology. It marked the beginning of a new era for the young science. After eight years of warring between ethnologists led by Thomas Huxley and anthropologists led by James Hunt, the two sides had finally resolved many of their differences and agreed to amalgamate and form the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. Both sides were forced to make compromises. The ethnologists agreed in principle to accept the designation of ‘anthropologist’ as their new name, so long as the president of the Anthropological Institute was John Lubbock. The hope was that under the leadership of one of the leading scientific naturalists of the mid-Victorian period, the sciences of Man would continue to move forward on sound empirical principles.
In the same year, however, there were also two important books published on anthropological topics which taken together helped to firmly place the discipline onto a more rigorous developmental framework. One of these books was Darwin's Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, which he claimed was his first major contribution to discussions on human variation.