London: Taylor and Francis, 1866. 1st Edition. No wrappers, as extracted. First edition of a classical paper complete with 3 lithograph plates by the famous English paleontologist, biologist and comparative anatomist Richard Owen. This paper is the first in a series of ten entitled "On the Fossil Mammals of Australia." NOTE: We offer other Owen papers separately, including almost all papers in his “On the Fossil Mammals of Australia” series.
“Thylacoleo has been described as a carnivore, a bone crusher, a scavenger or perhaps even an herbivore. It was first described by Sir Richard Owen as 'one of the fellest and most destructive of predatory beasts'” (The Australian Museum; Owen 1859). Thylacoleo carnifex is the last and largest member of the Thylacoleonidae ('marsupial lions'). As this paper elucidates, “Thylacoleo carnifex had a wide, heavy, short-snouted skull with a bony bar (postorbital bar), as in primates, behind the orbits. It has the longest shearing tooth of the thylacoleonids as well as large, serrated, canine-like upper incisors and horizontally oriented lower incisors (replacements for the canine teeth of other carnivorous mammals)” (AM).
Owen “distinguished himself with his powers of organization and deduction. At the same time he showed himself to be a peerless anatomist with instincts for reconstruction almost on a par with the great Cuvier in Paris. He became such an expert on the anatomy of animals that he was granted first refusal on any animal that died at the London Zoological Gardens, and these he would invariably have delivered to his house for examination. Once his wife returned home to find a freshly deceased rhinoceros filling the front hallway” (Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, 88). Item #1348
CONDITION & DETAILS: London: Taylor and Francis. 4to. No wrappers as extracted from "Philosophical Transactions", 1866. Vol. 156, pp. 73-82. 3 lithographed plates. Complete. The text is clean and bright. The plates have some light to moderate toning. Withal, very good.