La collection de préparations histologiques effectuées par Paul Gervais (1816-1879) sur le squelette des “poissons”
The collection of histological microscopic preparations realised by Paul Gervais (1816-1879) on fish skeleton
Paul Gervais (1816-1879) was professorship of the Laboratory of Comparative Anatomy (National Museum of Natural History, Paris) from 1868 to 1879. During the latest part of his career, he developed an obvious interest for histological researches on the vertebrate skeleton, especially on fossil mammals but also on extant fishes. He produced a series of thin sections of undecalcified skeletal elements of some Chondrichthyes and various Osteichthyes. Forty of these sections are still present in the collection of the Museum: teeth, cartilages and bones. To our knowledge, Paul Gervais did not publish much on normal fish skeletal tissues, with the exception of his study on fish hyperostosis (1875). The large panel of fish and tetrapod material for microscopy indicates that his prematurated death has probably stopped a project of comparative histological study of vertebrate skeletal tissues. Current curatorial efforts have unveiled remains of this collection, especially fish microscopical preparations, which are presented and assessed herein. Among this series of sections, some of them are unique and constitute a historical and histological patrimony that must be preserved.