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Elementorum myologiae specimen, seu musculi descriptio geometrica. Cui accedunt canis carchariae dissectum caput, et dissectus piscis ex canum genere.
[Joseph Cocchini], Florence 1667 - 4to (280 x 167 mm). [8], 123 [1] pp. Signatures: ?4 A-P4 Q2, 66 leaves. Woodcut Medici arms on title, 7 plates: 3 large folding woodcut plates numbered Tabula I-III and 4 full page engraved plates numbered Tab. [IV], V, [VI], VII (bound at the end with the engravings first). 18th-century roan-backed boards, vellum tips, gilt-tooled spine (extremities little rubbed, front endpaper removed, corners bumped). Small stain in preliminaries, some very light occasional spotting, a few early ink annotations and 3 neat ink diagrams in text. A fine, fresh and clean copy. Provenance: library of Walter Pagel (label fixed to inner pastedown). ---- Norman 2012; Garrison-Morton 577; NLM/Krivatsy 11432; Osler 4021; Waller 9223; LeFanu, Notable Medical Books from the Lilly Library, p. 79. - FIRST EDITION of "the first outline of a scientific theory of the development of the earth" (Norman), also important for Steno's contributions to the fields of myology and embryology. In collaboration with the mathematician Vicenzio Viviani, Steno (or Stensen) developed a geometrical description of muscular contraction, attempting to demonstrate theoretically that muscles did not increase in volume during contraction. The appendix contains his anatomical descriptions of the head of two sharks, and a study of their teeth (subjects of two of the fine plates), leading him to develop "his theories of how geological structures and fossils might be formed" (Garrison-Morton). This is one of the most remarkable of the scientific classics because it made seminal contributions to three quite distinct fields: myology, embryology and geology. First, Stensen shows that muscular contraction is not due to an influx of nerve fluid, but that on the contrary, the volume of muscle does not increase during contraction. His purely geometrical description of muscular contraction, written in collaboration with the mathematician Vincenzio Viviani (1622-1703), laid the foundation of muscle mechanics. The next section of the book describes the dissection of a shark's head, shown in a memorable and often reproduced plate. This led Stensen to the discovery that the so-called tongue-stones, common on Malta, are fossilised shark's teeth. Discussing how fossils are formed, Stensen outlines the basic principles of modern geology and gained for the work the title of 'The earliest geological treatise' (Garboe, quoted in Garrison-M.). Finally, there is a study in comparative anatomy demonstrating the correspondence between the roe of dogfish and the ovaries in women. This was the first recognition of the egg-producing function of the female ovary. Stensen was born in Denmark and studied under Thomas Bartholin at Copenhagen. His first work on the muscles, De musculis et glandulis observationum, was published at Copenhagen in 1664. He then settled in Florence, where the present work was published, and two years later the same publisher issued his classic treatise on geology and paleontology, De solido (Florence 1669), intended as an introduction to a larger work that was never written. Stensen was a fine draughtsman and presumably the illustrations in the present work were engraved from his drawings. (R. Gaskell, Books from the Library of Walter Pagel, Pt. II, 176). [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
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Last Found On: 2015-12-15           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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