Palaeontological Memoirs and notes of the late Hugh Falconer with a Biographical Sketch of the Author. Compiled and edited by Charles Murchison, in two 2 volumes
By Falconer, Hugh
Pp. (vol. I): lvi, 590; 34 engraved lithographic plates and maps, some text figures; Pp. (vol. II): xiii, (77), 675; 38 engraved lithographic plates, some text figures. Original publisher’s brown cloth, spine lettered in gilt, from and rear boards blind-stamped with border lines and with beveled edges, thick lg 8vo. This is the rare first edition of the collected paleontological works, both published and previously unpublished, of the Scottish geologist and botanist Hugh Falconer, whose extensive studies of India's Siwalik fossil mammals earned him and Proby Cautley the London Geological Society's prestigious Wollaston Medal. Falconer became interested in paleontology while stationed in India as an employee of the British East India Company. In the early 1830s he discovered the Siwalik fossil beds in the southernmost part of the Himalayas, where he and Cautley excavated an enormous variety of now-extinct specimens, including the mastodon, Sivatherium, the saber-toothed tiger and the giant tortoise, Colossochelys atlas. Falconer's observations of the evolutionary history preserved in the Siwalik strata--long periods of stasis followed by short periods of rapid change--led him to introduce the evolutionary theory known as punctuated equilibrium, a theory further developed in the twentieth century by Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould. Falconer left a large portion of his paleontological researches unpublished on his death, while many of his earlier papers had appeared only in such hard-to-find periodicals such as the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The present collection brings together all of Falconer's memoirs on paleontology, with the first volume containing his work on the fossil zoology of the Siwalik formations and the second his later paleontological researches, including his investigations on the antiquity of man in Brixham Cave, and his important memoir on the fossil rhinoceros, published here for the first time (modified after J. Norman).
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|Condition Description||Many pages uncut and unopened, some uniform discoloration to the cloth front board of both volume 1 and volume 2, the plates are bright and clean, armorial bookplate on the front endpaper of each volume; a tight, bright and clean copy in near fine condition.|