Academy,  2 (1870–71), 398–400.

[Review of 'Observations Made in the Pathological Institute of Jena', by Wilhelm Müller]

Anton Dohrn



Publications reviewed:

Müller 1871a Müller 1871b Müller 1871c Müller 1871d Müller 1871e Müller 1871f Müller 1871g Müller 1871h


Embryology, Pathology, Animal Development, Morphology, Comparative Anatomy, Neurology, Physiology, Evolution, Biology, Disciplinarity, Government, Darwinism, Education, Medical Practitioners

    Applauds the recent work of Wilhelm Müller which contains 'a singular mixture of embryology and pathology', and also 'embraces a field of comparative embryology that has hitherto remained wholly uncultivated' (398–99). Observes that Müller's conclusion that 'the chorda dorsalis [...] is very far from being a fundamental organ' of the skeleton 'corroborates and expands a view which had already been expressed by His in his History of the Development of the Fowl', but also notes that Müller's researches on the development of the infundibulum area of the brain are 'in opposition to Carl Ernst v. Baer'. Warns that no 'attention should be paid to the opposition lately made by Dr. Donitz', because 'Dr. Donitz is evidently insufficiently acquainted with the problems of modern morphology'. (399) After reflecting on the potential of Müller's work for bringing about 'a new era within the domain of pathological anatomy' by using 'comparative anatomy and embryology [...] to assist the recognition of the nature of pathological processes and formations', suggests that there is even more importance in the way that 'the great idea of evolution is carried by Professor Müller into a region where it has been practically hitherto unknown. A bridge has thus been thrown across, connecting two long separated regions of human enquiry: and it cannot happen but that both will gain'. Indeed, the embryological 'department of science, founded by Caspar Friedrich Wolff, and greatly expanded by Carl Ernst v. Baer, appears to be destined to play an important part in the development of the Darwinian theory'. Also complains about the 'still increasing exclusion of pure biological studies from the curriculum of medical studies on the part of the Prussian government', as well as the 'very short-sighted proceeding by which, in the year 1861, a compulsory knowledge of zoology and botany as fundamental information on the part of young medical men was discontinued at Berlin'. (400)

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