Paris: From Academie des sciences...Vol. IX, 1846, Sept. 5, 1842. 4to. pp. -432, with 4 coloured plates. FIRST EDITION. Wrappers; some marginal browning. Item #2800
First edition of the ground-breaking monograph on the teeth of the shrew, published in book form two years later. The plates are illustrations of microscopic views of the mouth and teeth. The dental aspects of shrews are interesting, given their very high metabolic rate; apparently they consume between 80% and 90% of their body weight per day. And whereas rodents have gnawing incisors that grow throughout life, the teeth of shrews wear down throughout life, a problem made more extreme by the fact that they basically have only one set of teeth throughout their lifetime, like humans. Apart from the first pair of incisors, which are long and sharp, and the chewing molars at the back of the mouth, the teeth of shrews are small and peg-like, and may be reduced in number.
Duvernoy (1777-1855) was a French zoologist and physician. He worked with Cuvier in writing and editing a number of books. Ultimately he became a professor of natural history at the Collège de France.