6 December 2004
PECQUET, Jean (1622-1674). Experimenta nova anatomica, quibus incognitum hactenus chyli receptaculum, & ab eo per thoracem in ramos usque subclavios vasa lactea deteguntur.... Dissertatio anatomica de circulatione sanguinis, et chyli motu. Paris: Sebastian and Gabriel Cramoisy, 1651.
4o (201 x 155 mm). One full-page engraving of the chylus vessels in the dissected carcass of a dog, 5 small text engravings, printer's woodcut device on title, woodcut initials and headpiece ornament (some light marginal staining). Contemporary limp vellum (some staining and light wear to spine and egdes). Provenance: Presentation inscription from the author to an unidentified recipient ("dono dedit author" on front free endpaper); Belaguteres (early owership inscription on title).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY. Pecquet is generally credited with the discovery of the thoracic duct, the major vessel of the lymphatic system. He made his discovery by experimenting with digesting dogs. "Pecquet's discovery that the chyle flowed into the vena cava and thence to the heart, taken together with the Harveaian circulation, was taken to have completely destroyed the food-chyle-blood system centred around a blood-making liver that was fundamental to Galenic physiology" (The Western medical tradition, p. 347). Garrison-Morton 1095; Grolier Medicine 28A; Heirs of Hippocrates 543; NLM/Krivatsy 8757; Waller 7278; Norman 1676.
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