8vo. [19 x 10 cm], 58 pp. including title-page (first leaf blank). Bound in red marbled wrappers. Title toned and a bit soiled with two small ink-spots, not affecting text, toning in the margins of some leaves; nevertheless generally good, with some leaves uncut and with original deckle edges.
Very rare first and sole edition of the first treatise published by the pioneering French mineralogist Jean-Baptiste Romé de L’Isle (1736-1780), and his sole work on marine biology, concerning the “movement, generation and nature” of the freshwater polyp. In the present work Romé hypothesizes, drawing on observations by the naturalist “M. Bazin,” that polyps are a kind of living hive built of thousands of tiny separate units, ‘petits grains,’ that nonetheless work harmoniously to feed, move, and regenerate the entire body. Though Romé’s hypothesis is not entirely off the mark—polyps may reproduce asexually by budding, for instance—it was eventually disproven by the observations of the naturalist Justin Girod-Chantrans (1750-1841).
OCLC: No American copies.