Berlin: Verlag von G. Reimer, 1849. Morocco. First and only edition of this rare treatise on fossil finds discovered in the Eocene of Alabama, in 1845, and thought to be those of a genus of the whale family. Medium folio (467 x 330mm ): iv, 38 pp. with 27 superb, multi-figure lithographic plates of fossils, many duo tone, variously signed. Text in double columns. Modern quarter black morocco over gray cloth boards, red morocco lettering piece gilt. Tight, square, virtually pristine binding; text and plates with only light scattered foxing. About Fine. Nissen 2919. Sabin 51287 (erroneously noting date of publication as 1819). Fine-. Item #BB2148
In the spring of 1847, Albert Koch, a charlatan showman in the mold of P. T, Barnum, displayed in the capitals of Europe the fossil of a supposed gigantic primeval animal, a species of incongruously long (114 feet) sea serpent whose bony parts he had cobbled together at random and to which he gave the name "Hydrarchus sillimani." Koch rationalized the remains attributed to Hydrarchus with a biblical creature: Job's Leviathan. But the anatomist Richard Owen and the geologist Charles Lyell, among others, spotted the hoax. Soon after, King Frederick Wilhelm IV of Prussia acquired the frankenstein for the Royal Museum of Berlin, and Johannes Muller set to work reassembling its parts. In Über die fossilen Reste der Zeuglodonten, Muller reports the results of these investigations. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).