“The Elephant’s Head” – Boas and Paulli Monograph

There is so much to say regarding the true beauty of the anatomy of living things and that is a large part of what this blog is meant for. I thought I might start off by showing some illustrations from my all-time favorite animal  anatomy monograph.

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Elephant facial musculature (Boas and Paulli, 1908)

This is Boas and Paulli’s “The Elephant’s Head”,  published in two volumes (Volume 1 in 1908 and Volume 2 in 1925). Words cannot express how much this monograph has been an inspiration to me. Not so much because of the way it is written, but because of the hundreds of absolutely gorgeous illustrations it contains. A large part of my research entails craniofacial musculature of large mammals and this monograph is a large part of the reason why (it is mainly about elephant craniofacial anatomy, but also has descriptions and illustrations of many other mammals as well). The amount of incredible detail in illustrating the muscles (bellies/fiber direction) as well as bone, ligaments, and fascia is astounding and something I can only dream of aspiring to even creating a fraction of its beauty in my own research and illustration. I’ll let some of these example images speak for themselves (all from Boas and Paulli, 1908).
(Note: I’ll probably reference this monograph time and time again throughout my posts on this blog, so be forewarned.)

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Elephant facial musculature (superficial) (Boas and Paulli, 1908)
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Elephant facial musculature (deep) (Boas and Paulli, 1908)
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Elephant facial musculature close-up (Boas and Paulli, 1908)
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Tapir facial musculature (Boas and Paulli, 1908)
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Camel facial musculature (Boas and Paulli, 1908)
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Boar facial musculature (Boas and Paulli, 1908)
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Echidna facial musculature (Boas and Paulli, 1908)

There is SO much more I could show you all. But in any case, this is one of the most important examples I can think of dealing with the great effect of integration of anatomy and illustration. It is something I hope we see a lot more of in the future of our field!

~ Ali

References:

Boas, J. E. V. & Paulli, S. (1908). The elephant’s head: studies in the comparative anatomy of the organs of the head of the Indian elephant and other mammals: Part I. Copenhagen: Folio, Gustav Fisher.

Boas, J. E. V. & Paulli, S. (1925). The elephant’s head: studies in the comparative anatomy of the organs of the head of the Indian elephant and other mammals: Part II. Copenhagen: Folio, Gustav Fisher.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy Farke says:

    Gorgeous imagery – thank you for sharing!
    Has the monograph itself ever been digitized in its entirety? I’m assuming the 1908 volume is squarely out of copyright (presumably there are a few years left yet on the 1925 one, although I’m not sure given its publication in Europe), but a quick search didn’t find any PDFs.

    Like

    1. Ali Nabavizadeh says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Andy! The 1908 monograph has been digitized before (and was sent to me on a CD year ago). I took the liberty of digitizing the 1925 monograph for myself from pages in a copy in our library, but I did not include images fro bit here. And no, they are not anywhere to be found online, but they should be! It would be great to find a good way to get them up there. ~ Ali

      Like

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