Coimbra Exhibition

Intermaxillary bone in the upper jaw of a walrus; original specimens from Johann Wolfgang Goethe.

Place of Originunknown
DateOriginal specimen from 1784
DescriptionOn March 27, 1784, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe declared that he had just 'discovered' traces of the then controversial intermaxillary bone in man. He identified the bone by noting its appearance in a large number of different mammals, including the skull of a walrus. With his comparative studies, he provided the evidence for an evolutionary connection between man and animals. It is one of the earliest examples of target-oriented research at the beginning of morphology.
TagsSkull of Goethe's comparative studies in Jena; original specimen; Intermaxilliary bone; Goethe's bone.
Dimensions180 x 200 x 440
Image Rights Holder© The University of Jena
Photographic CreditsMichael Szabo
Metadata RightsCC-O