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MALPIGHI, Marcello (1628-1694)

Dissertationes epistolicæ duæ, una de formatione pulli in ovo. Altera de bombyce. Utraque Regiæ Societati, Londini ad Scientiam Naturalem promovendam institutæ, dicata.
Londini, impensis Joannis Martyn, 1673.

Bound together with:
Swammerdam: Miraculum naturæ, 1672, entry BIOL 91:1.

First edition of the first important work on the developmental stages of the chicken. Although the title-page indicates that there are two treatises (epistola) in this work, only De formatione pulli in ovo is present in this issue. The other treatise called for on the title, De bombyce, on the anatomy of the silk-worm with 12 folding plates, is not present. Both were published with their own separate title-leaves in 1669 (De bombyce) and in 1673 (Formatione pulli in ovo) and were also issued together in 1673 with the above collective title. "The greatest of the microscopists was Marcello Malpighi, the founder of histology, who was professor of anatomy at Bologna, Pisa and Messina, and physician to Pope Innocent XII . . . he made an epoch in medicine by his investigation of the embryology of the chick and the histology and physiology of the glands and viscera. The plates accompanying his memoirs make him the founder of descriptive or iconographic embryology, surpassing all other contemporary workers on the subject.” (Garrison) His work on the development of the chicken in the egg firmly established Malpighi’s reputation as an embryologist. His chief embryological discoveries, illustrated in the four beautifully detailed plates, were the vascular area embraced by the terminal sinus, the cardiac tube and its segmentation, the aortic arches, the somites, the neural folds and the neural tube, the cerebral vescicles, the optic vesicles, the protoliver, the glands of the prestomach, and the feather follicles.

Collation: Pp (4), 42. With 4 large folding engraved plates. Two unsigned leaves (title/verso blank; imprimatur leaf: recto/blank, verso with "Junii 12, 1672 ... signed Brouncker Praes.”), B-F4 G1.

Binding: Two works in contemporary vellum, early hand written title on spine.

References: Garrison-Morton 469; Norman 1429; Wellcome, IV, 38; Heirs of Hippocrates 571-72; Cole, 704; Adelmann, Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology. Five Volumes (1966); Frati, Carlo: Bibliographia Malpighiana (Milan, 1897) 22 bis.

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