TYSON, Edward (1650-1708). Orang-Outang, sive Homo Sylvestris: or, the anatomy of a pygmie compared with that of a monkey, an ape, and a man - A philological essay concerning the pygmies, gynocephali, satyrs and sphinges of the ancients. London: Thomas Bennet, Daniel Brown, Mr Hunt, 1699.
4o (271 x 215 mm). Engraved folding frontispiece and 7 folding plates after William Cowper (1666-1709) by Michael Vander Gucht (1660-1725) (some edges creased and chipped slightly affecting images, small repairs on versos, occasionally spotting). (Minor marginal wormholes to Preface, some spotting.) Contemporary blind-tooled calf (rebacked, extremities scuffed, bookplate removed from front paste down).
"THE FIRST WORK TO DEMONSTRATE SCIENTIFICALLY THE STRUCTURAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN MAN AND ANTHROPOID APE" (Norman)
FIRST EDITION of the first anatomical study of a great ape and to identify the chimpanzee as the link directly below mankind in the "Great Chain of Being": "'Tis a true Remark, which we cannot make without Admiration; That from Minerals, to Plants; from Plants, to Animals; and from Animals, to Men; the Transition is so gradual, that there appears a very great Similitude, as well between the meanest Plant, and some Minerals; as between the lowest Rank of men, and the highest kind of Animals. The Animal of which I have given the Anatomy, coming nearest to mankind; seems the Nexus of the Animal and Rational" (Tyson, from The Epistle Dedicatory). This represents the first formulation of the first formulation of the idea of the "missing link", which was more fully explored by the works of Huxley and Darwin in the 19th century. The "typical pygmy" which Tyson placed between man and monkey was in fact an African chimpanzee. Garrison-Morton 153; NLM/Krivatsy 12028; Norman 2120; PMM 169; Wing T-3598.