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[Book Reviews]


STUDENTS of anatomy and physiology, as the author of this little book points out, are apt to suppose that the facts with which they are now being made familiar have all been established by recent observation and experiment. There could not be a greater mistake. Biology is a science of “venerable antiquity,” and the way was prepared for modern discoveries by the labours of many patient and far-seeing investigators. In the present volume Mr. McRae has sought to illustrate this by sketching the biological work of Hippocrates, Aristotle, Galen, Vesalius, and Harvey. He could not have selected five inquirers better suited for his purpose; and within the limits he has allotted to himself he has succeeded admirably in indicating the nature and value of the contribution which each of them made to biological science. He is especially happy in his treatment of the three representatives of ancient research; but the essays on Vesalius and Harvey are also clear, well-arranged, and suggestive. Mr. McRae is not content with second-hand information. He has evidently studied the original sources with care; and the result is that his method of exposition is invariably fresh and interesting. He knows, too, how to connect the results attained in former times with those at which later anatomists and physiologists have arrived. He does not, of course, claim to have exhausted the interest of his subject. But the work he has done, so far as it goes, is sound, and should be of service to many of his readers in helping them to understand the various stages in the development of the scientific conceptions with which he deals.

Fathers of Biology.

By Charles McRae (London: Percival and Co., 1890.)

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[Book Reviews]. Nature 43, 245–246 (1891).

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