London: n.p., 1786. 4to. [vi], 225 (ie, 227, including the text leaf between pages 42 and 43). FIRST EDITION. With 18 engraved anatomical plates after I.V. Riemsdyk and others. Contemporary calf-backed paste-boards; leaf U4 loose. Contemporary annotations on the life of Hunter on fly-leaf. A very nice copy with wide margins. Item #15726
First edition. This work, considered one of Hunter’s four major masterpieces, contains fourteen separate monographs on zoology and comparative anatomy. Included are “Hunter’s observations on the secondary secual characteristics in birds, on the descent of the testis, on the air sac in birds, on the structure of the placenta, etc., together with the original description of the olfactory nerves” (G&M). He here details his discovery of the circulatory relationship between the placenta and the uterus, for which he claimed priority over his brother William.
Hunter (1728-1793) was the pupil of his brilliant brother William, whom he later assisted and soon surpassed as a surgeon. He was probably one of the greatest scientist of his time in medicine and related subjects. The Royal College of Surgeons sponsors an annual lecture in Hunter’s memory.