Description of a skeleton of the Mastodon Giganteus of North America
by Warren, John C.
Boston: John Wilson & Son, 1852. Warren, John Collins (1778-1856). Description of a skeleton of the Mastodon giganteus of North America. viii, 219pp. Additional chromolithographed title and 27 plates (1 folding). Boston: John Wilson & Son, 1852. 299 × 246 mm. Original red cloth stamped in gilt and blind, light edgewear. Minor toning and foxing but very good. Inscribed by Warren to Nathan Appleton (1779-1861) on the front flyleaf: "Hon. Nathan Appleton. With the best regards of the Author. Dec. 9th 1852." First edition. Mastodon fossils were first found in North America in 1739 by Baron Charles de Longueuil, a major in the army of Louisiana. The mastodon was given its own scientific classification (Mastodon) by Cuvier, who distinguished it from other elephant species on the basis of its molars, which have distinctive cone-shaped projections (the word mastodon comes from the Greek mastos, breast, and odous, tooth). Mastodons and their relatives, the mammoths, coexisted in North America during the Pleistocene era. John Collins Warren, a prominent American surgeon, is best known for his role in the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia in 1846. Towards the end of his life Warren became interested in geology and paleontology, serving as the president of the Boston Society of Natural History and procuring a mammoth skeleton for display in a private museum. Warren described the skeleton, discovered in 1845 in the vicinity of Newburgh, N.Y., in this elaborately produced book, the publication of which he undoubtedly paid for himself. It is one of the most remarkable American publications on paleontology published in the mid-nineteenth century. Warren presented this copy to Nathan Appleton, who helped introduce the power loom and large-scale cotton manufacture in the United States and also served in the House of Representatives from 1831-33.
(Inventory #: 43991)
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