Scheuchzer, Johann Jakob; Herbarium diluvianum collectum a Johanne Jacobo Scheuchzero. Tiguri, Literis Davidis Gessneri, 1709. 1st edition, small folio, pp. 44, 10 leaves of engraved plates and engraved title page with image. Page 33-44 omitted in numbering.
This very rare work is in a recent full vellum with a gilt spine label. The binding is pristine. The text has a very minor stain on the very lower margin of the first three pages, otherwise the work is bright and all the plates are very clean and bright. In very good condition.
Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (2 August 1672 – 23 June 1733) was a Swiss, scholar, naturalist and geologist. He published numerous works on science and also wrote about his travels. His scientific works were his most important and dealt with Switzerland’s mountains and what was known about them, including their geology, fossils and the origins of the mountains. He also published on Swiss rivers, hot springs and mineral baths and minerals. His travels and observations were the source of his knowledge and he studied and mapped the strata of Switzerland, collected fossils of plants, shells and fish. These observations formed the core of his scientific works.
Scheuchzer was a diluvialist and believed that the rock strata and fossils he observed were all deposited in the great flood of Noah. He collected and described all the fossils which helped him support his diluvial theory. His personal collection was vast and included what he believed to be the remains of a human who witnessed and died in Noah’s flood. He called this fossil Homo dilute testis or “human witness of the Flood”.
Scheuchzer’s Herbarium Diluvianum is his major contribution to the the study of fossil plants. Although Scheuchzer was preceded by Edward Llwyd, who published several pictures of fossil plants from the collections in the Ashmolean collection in 1699, the first edition of Scheuchzer's work is generally regarded as the first really comprehensive and well illustrated treatise on the subject of Paleobotany. The work is based on the vast number of fossil plants found in his own collection. The work was of such importance as to establish Scheuchzer as the father of not only Swiss but also of European palaeobotany. The plates are exquisite in their detail. The 1st edition is in Latin and is very rare.