Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 4: Pla [corr.: Ple] - Wri
Todd, Robert Bentley
in some sorts of double monsters, male. 3. 
In a definite proportion between the species of 
the animals, and the most frequent monstrosities 
in them. Cyclopes, for instance, especially with 
a snout,occur most frequently in swine ; double 
monsters in man. 4. In the constant fonti 
of monsters, even amongst the most hetei'oge- 
neous animals. Cyclopia, double monsters, 
acrania, have in Birds precisely the same cha¬ 
racters as in the Mammalia. 5. In the greater 
predisposition to monstrosity among some animals. 
This is greater among domestic than among 
wild animals ; greater among the more perfect, 
than among the less perfect ; three-fourths of 
the monstrosities occur among Mammalia, one- 
fourth among Birds (J. Geoffroy St. Hi¬ 
laire). They happen seldom among Reptilia, 
still less frequently among Fishes, Mollusca, 
Articulata, and Radiata. 
From these premises the consequence is 
easily derived, that monstrosities do not take 
place by chance, and therefore do not by any 
means deserve the so very general appellation 
of caprices of nature (lusus natures). The 
result of this is, that they often present a 
quantitative antithesis, according to what 
Geoffroy St. Hilaire denominates loi de ba¬ 
lancement. According to this law, the ex¬ 
cessive developement of one part of the body 
is often connected with checked formation of 
another. To anencephalia, cyclopia, spina 
bifida, are often joined fingers and toes in ex¬ 
cessive number ; to sireno-melia superfluous 
vertebrae and ribs ; and frequently there occur 
in double monsters malformations of the head. 
Meckel saw, in one single instance, this an¬ 
tithesis extend itself over different children 
of one and the same mother. A girl had 
on each extremity a superfluous digit, and 
one hand of her sister wanted four fingers, 
being the number of digits which her sister 
had in excess, reckoning the four extremities 
I have now arrived to the classification of 
monstrosities ; but in order to prevent all 
unnecessary waste of time, I shall avoid 
entering into a full critical examination of 
the systems propounded by Licetus, Huber, 
Wigtel, Malacarne, Buffon,Blumenbach, Bres- 
chet, Geoffroy St. Hilaire, Gurlt, Otto, and 
Bischoff. Concerning these I refer to Bis- 
choff*, from whom Rokitansky has chiefly 
borrowed what he gives in his manual. Ac¬ 
cording to my conviction, no suitable clas¬ 
sification of monstrosities can be given, and 
the efforts employed to this end may be re¬ 
garded as failures. I confine myself, therefore, 
to a simple grouping, taking embryogenesis 
as my basis, without presuming on any further 
classification, and I thus avoid a barbarous 
nomenclature, which, in my opinion, is at¬ 
tended with no advantage. My object is 
simply to make the doctrine of malformations 
useful for physiology and for medical practice, 
nearly in the same manner as was done, almost 
* Entwickelungs Geschichte mit besondere Be¬ 
rücksichtigung der Missbildungen, in R. Wagner 
Handwörterbuch d. Physiologie, B. i. S. 887. 
simultaneously with me, by the excellent F. A. 
von Ammon.* 
Malformations of the Ovum. 
1. Mola botryoides or hydatica, — Hydrometra 
aquatica,—is a degeneration of the chorion into 
vesicles of different sizes, filled with a serous 
liquor, which were erroneously taken for hy¬ 
datids. They cover the surface of the en¬ 
larged ovum, and are the villi of the chorion, 
which, as no formation of vessels took place, 
retained their original vesicular form (Ruysch, 
Albinus, Sandifort, Cruveilhier, Velpeau). 
Sometimes a foetus is found in it, which, how¬ 
ever, in relation to the ovum may be said 
to be small. 
The small embryo most probably dies 
in the early period of pregnancy, and the 
degenerated ovum continues to grow till 
a later period, when it is evacuated. In 
most cases abortion is the consequence of 
this condition of the ovum. Sometimes, 
nevertheless, the pregnancy lasts till the full 
time (Gregorini), or sometimes longer, as 
happened in a case observed by Lossins, in 
which it lasted six years. Sometimes the 
fœtus disappears, and then this degenerated 
vesicular mass is evacuated alone, with ex¬ 
cessive haemorrhage and great pain. This 
is the last period of what is called false preg¬ 
The vesicles are inclosed in a kind of de¬ 
cidua ; they are fixed on pedicles, from which 
arise other vesicles with smaller stems, so as 
to give to the whole the appearance of the 
chorion, in an earlier period of its existence, 
when the villi still preserve their original 
vesicular form. The accurate observations of 
Boeck show that, in most cases, these vesicles 
contain blood, which sometimes can be dis¬ 
placed by pressure from the one to the other 
vesicle, or is coagulated. The internal sur¬ 
face of the membrane which forms the vesicle 
is smooth, the external interwoven with fibres. 
A thus degenerated ovum has not the power 
of bringing the fœtus to a state of perfect 
maturity. The death of the fœtus and mis¬ 
carriage are its consequences. Sometimes the 
Mola botryoides is accompanied by malfor¬ 
mation of the fœtus (Valisnieri). 
From this degeneration ought to be distin¬ 
guished : 1st. The vesicular degeneration of 
the placenta, when retained after a natural 
parturition in the womb (Gregorini) ; 2nd. 
The Polypi fugaces or vesiculares evacuated in 
the anni climacterici by elderly women (Lev- 
ret) ; 3rd. Those after suppressed menstrua¬ 
tion in unpregnant women (Schleierbach, 
Watson, Sporing, Lisfranc). As I have no ob¬ 
servations of my own of any of these cases, 
1 dare not pronounce any opinion about the 
affinity of these vesicles to the Mola botryoides. 
2. Separation of the placenta into lobes or 
cotyledons. — This is without doubt to be 
attributed to an arrest at a lower degree of 
developement, and it offers some resemblance 
* Die angeborenen Chirurgischen Krankheiten 
des Menschen. Berlin, 1842.


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