PURKINJE, Jan Evangelista (1787-1869). Symbolae ad ovi avium historiam ante incubationem . Breslau: University Press, 1825.
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PURKINJE, Jan Evangelista (1787-1869). Symbolae ad ovi avium historiam ante incubationem . Breslau: University Press, 1825. 4 o (245 x 199 mm). Collation: s2 1-2 4 3 4 ( + - 3 / 4). 14 leaves. 2 chalk lithograph plates containing 30 numbered figures after the author's drawings. (Some minor dust-soiling to lower edges.) Original plain green wrappers (very minor wear to backstrip, slight creasing to lower wrapper); cloth folding case. Provenance : Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), comparative anatomist, best known as the founder of scientific anthropology, the dedicatee; E. F. G Herbst; by descent to Robert M. Herbst. FIRST EDITION. BLUMENBACH'S COPY OF A CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT EMBRYOLOGICAL TREATISE WRITTEN AND PRINTED IN HIS HONOR on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his graduation from medical school. Purkinje undertook his essay on avian embryology only three months before the celebration held in Blumenbach's honor on September 19, 1825 by the Association of Physicians of Breslau. "Very few investigators have ever accomplished so much in the space of three months... The reputation it brought [Purkinje] was well earned; it has become one of the great documents in the history of embryology" (G. W. Bartelmez, "Contributions to the history of the bird", p. 82, in Essays in biology in honor of Herbert M. Evans , Berkeley 1943, pp. 51-92). Purkinje's choice of topic, the development of the avian egg in the body of the female, was appropriate for a Festschrift honoring, in Purkinje's words, "one who had so profoundly interpreted the morphological principles of the development [of the chick's egg]" (in ber den Bildungstrieb , Gttingen 1781; translated by Bartelmez, ibid .) The best-known result of Purkinje's research was an important discovery for comparative anatomy: "His discovery and isolation of a minute structure, the germinal vesicle ('Purkyne's vesicle'), on the spot of the yolk where the embryo develops--later identified with the cell nucleus--formed a bridge between the large avian egg and the small ova of other animals. It also stimulated the work of K. E. von Baer [see lot 912] that led in 1827 to the discovery of the ovum in mammals and man" (DSB). However, the very small press-run of Purkinje's essay caused much of his work on the development of the ovum to be ignored. "As a result, various errors concerning the bird's egg persisted and investigators with improved methods and optical instruments at their command and new points of view who might have begun where Purkyne left off unwittingly repeated his observations" (Bartelmez, op. cit .). The last copy of this extremely rare pamphlet to have been sold at auction was the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh copy, sold in 1969. Garrison-Morton 476; Kruta, p. 81; Waller 11930 (different or journal issue, variant title); Norman 1765.
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