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. London: Thomas Bennet and Daniel Brown, for Mr Hunt, 1699.
2 parts in one volume, 4° (287 x 222mm). Part-title and drop-titles, 8 engraved folding plates by Michael Vander Gucht after William Cowper, imprimatur leaf before title, advertisement leaf at end. (Light browning throughout, occasional spotting to text leaves, small paperfault affecting footnote on E3, neat repairs to some plates, some with small tears at folds or lower edges, a few shaved at outer margin.) Contemporary speckled panelled calf tooled in blind, spine with citron morocco lettering-piece (rebacked, extremities rubbed, small splits to joint). Provenance: William Cowper -- Phineas Fowke (inscription in Latin and Greek by Fowke on front free endpaper, dated 1699) -- William Morehead (armorial bookplate) -- sold Sotheby's 27 March 1972, lot 184.
A PRESENTATION COPY FROM WILLIAM COWPER OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE 'EARLIEST IMPORTANT STUDY IN COMPARATIVE MORPHOLOGY' (PMM). Tyson, a physician at Bridewell and Bethlehem Hospitals, was the first to publish monographs on comparative anatomy. In this work on the 'typical pygmy', which was actually an African chimpanzee, Tyson established the connection of anthropoid apes between man and monkey; the first formulation of the idea of the 'missing link', more fully explored in the published works of Huxley in 1863 and Darwin in 1871. Although not a founder of the theory of evolution, Tyson can nevertheless be seen as contributing to its formulation. The present copy was a gift from the surgeon William Cowper (1666-1709), who supplied Tyson with illustrations and the chapter on muscles. Best known for his work, The Anatomy of the Humane Bodies (1698), Cowper wrote numerous works on surgery, pathology, anatomy and physiology. Fowke's inscription recording the gift of the book by Cowper, refers to him as 'that most spendid man' and 'most famous surgeon', adept 'both in the art and practice of anatomical matters'. PMM 169; Norman 2120; Wing T-3598.