LAMARCK, Jean Baptiste de (1744-1829). Systme des animaux sans vertbres, ou tableau gnral des classes, des ordres et des genres de ces animaux. Paris: Crapelet for the author and Dterville, an IX--1801.
8o (192 x 115 mm). Half-title, 8 plates of letterpress tables, of which 5 folding, addenda leaf "Seconde addition", paginated 402bis (verso blank) misbound after 26/7 (instead of after 26/1). Interleaved throughout. (First folding table with 4-inch fold break, small marginal wormhole to half-title, occasional very light foxing to tables.) Contemporary French sheep-backed boards, calf lettering-piece on smooth spine (joints cracked, upper joint quite fragile, rubbed); morocco-backed folding case.
Provenance: THE AUTHOR'S COPY (his autograph textual revisions in brown ink on 18 of the inserted blank leaves, and occasional marginal corrections); Dr. Maldan (19th-century inkstamp on title).
LAMARCK'S ANNOTATED COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST PUBLISHED STATEMENT OF HIS EVOLUTIONARY THEORY OF SPECIES DEVELOPMENT. Lamarck had first presented his theory of "evolution" (a term not yet used in this context) in the opening discourse of his course on invertebrates at the Musum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris in 1800. First printed in the present work, the 48-page Discours d'ouverture contains Lamarck's first statement of his theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and of his idea of the progressive process of species differentiation, from the simplest to the most complex. The Systme represented a definite advance in zoological classification. In it Lamarck "separated spiders and crustaceans from insects, and classified worms into truer categories than had Linn. He separated animals into vertebrates and invertebrates, introducing the latter term" (Dibner).
Of Lamarck's interleaved revisions the longest and most detailed note contains text meant to be inserted on page 14 of the "Discours d'ouverture." In this significant revision Lamarck supplies two additional examples of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, both relating to the visual apparatus of invertebrates, specifically snakes and fish. ("Snakes, who crawl along the surface of the earth, needed to be able to see raised objects or objects above them. This requirement must have influenced the position of the eyes of these animals, and in fact their eyes are placed directly on top of their heads... Forced however to compensate for their lack of frontal vision... they could only perceive [objects in front of them] by feeling them with their tongues, which they thus were obliged to stretch out with all their strength..."). Lamarck incorporated these two examples, almost word for word, in chapter 7, Part I, of his Philosophie zoologique (1809, vol. I, pp. 251-253). Of the remaining interleaved insertions, only one other (facing p. 330) is more than a few lines in length. One of two annotations to be illustrated with a small ink sketch, this note is also of interest, as it distinguishes ringed from intestinal worms and revises the positions Lamarck had previously assigned to them in the hierarchy of species.
Dibner, Heralds of Science 194; Garrison-Morton 215.5; Norman 1261.