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  • Aust. N . Z . J . Surg. 1992,62,60-69




    Wood Jones sojourn in Australia

    Frederic Wood Jones came to Australia from Eng- land in 1920 to take up the Elder Chair of Anatomy at the Adelaide University which he held until 1926. Thereafter he went to Honolulu where he filled the Rockefeller Chair of Anthropology in the University of Hawaii. In January 1930, Wood Jones returned to Australia, this time to the Chair of Anatomy at the University of Melbourne. At the end of 1937 he returned to England leaving behind him a reputation which still endures.

    His abilities were recognized by the conferment of the honorary degrees of DSc at both Melbourne and Adelaide universities and by numerous invita- tions to deliver important memorial lectures and orations. As further evidence of the esteem in which he was held, a full length oil painting of him hangs in the entrance hall of the Australasian Col- lege of Surgeons in Melbourne. He delivered the George Adlington Syme Oration at the opening of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons on 14 March 1935 and he received one of the Colleges first honorary fellowships. He had an affinity with students which was unparalleled in the medical schools of Australia and he had a special regard for the surgeons of antiquity. His talents as biologist, anatomist, anthropologist, teacher, writer and orator have been lauded by many but little mention has been made of his talents as an artist.

    Paintings of lizards, geckoes and snakes

    A series of fortuitous events led to the author pur- chasing 19 drawings of lizards, geckoes and snakes drawn by Wood Jones with pencil, pen and brush. These watercolours (Figs 1, 2) were painted in I899 when he was a second year medical student at the London Hospital Medical School probably as part of his zoology course.

    The serendipidous find of these paintings prompted a re-estimation of innumerable diagrams,

    *Based on a lecture given to the staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 6 November 1990.

    Richmond. Victoria 3121, Ausrralia. Correspondence: Dr B E. Christophers, 377 Church Street,

    figures and drawings which illustrate his books and journal articles. Many of these diagrams are more than just effective illustrations, they have an aes- thetic value in their own right. The commentary upon these drawings will wherever possible be based upon Wood Jones own text. The captions of the illustrations used in this paper are as they occur in his publications.

    Drawings of lips

    When Wood Jones left Melbourne in 1937 he gave a collection of his anatomical drawings to James Guest. Three of these drawings are reproduced here (Figs 3, 4, 5). It is interesting to speculate when and for what purpose they were drawn. There is extant a Memorandum of Agreement, dated 13 March 1909, between Dr F. Wood Jones of the Priory, Roehampton and Edward Arnold, publish- er.3 In this memorandum, reference is made to the proposed publication of a manuscript by Wood Jones entitled Anatomy from the point of view of function. The manuscript is described as having about 140,000 words with index and about 200 illustrations from black and white drawings sup- plied free of charge by the Author. [It was to have been] published at about fifteen shillings net in the autumn of 1910. The manuscript itself is not to be found in the Wood Jones collection at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and it was never published. It is possible that these drawings are from that manuscript, in which case they were drawn in the period 1904-09.


    Wood Jones wrote of the lips in infancy as follows:4

    The lips of the new-born baby show one very well marked characteristic. In the adult the grading from the mucous membrane lining the buccal aspect of the lips to the specialized skin covering their ex- posed surface is effected by a gradual transition over an intermediate zone. In the infant the passage from the internal to the external zone is made with some abruptness along a line that runs conspicuously along the red margins of the lips parallel to their free borders. The external zone, which runs round the periphery of the lips is the pars glabra or smooth


    Fig. 1. Grass Snake.

    area of the embryonic lip, while the internal zone of LIPS I N WHISTLING the immediately adjacent edges of the lips is the

    villi, is termed the pars villosa. The pars villosa is the of the lip that is employed in grasping the nipple and its differential characters persist during the whole period of suckling although the sharp line of contrast between it and the Pars &bra S I O W ~ Y disappears during infancy and is formally lost by merging into the transition zone after the child is a year old.

    which, since it is beset with The illustration depicting the disposition of the lips when whistling (Fig. 5 ) shows the sphincter action of the lips created by the contracted fibres of Or- bicularis oris which are attached to skin. These drawings are exquisite examples of pointilism. Another instance of this method of drawing, that of a nose (Fig. 6 ) , is to be found in an unpublished manuscript by Wood Jones entitled Human anato- my for students of physical anthropology.5

    Fig. 3. The lips of an adult. Fig. 4. The lips in infancy.


    . . _. . .. . . ;, *.:

    ... _... . . . ... .. . ...


    ... ....

    Fig. 5. The lips contracted for whistling to show the sphincter action of the orbicularis oris.

    Spinous processes

    Spinous processes were the subject of two figures in his book Arboreal Man which was published in 1916.6 At that time he was Professor of Anatomy in the London School of Medicine for Women. This book was his first major work on comparative anatomy and was based on lectures given to stu- dents at St Thomass, Manchester and the London School of Medicine for Women. He expressed the following on the disposition of spinous processes.

    The most conspicuous differences between mam- mals is the direction in which the spinous processes slope. The more primitive disposition seen in many reptiles shows the vertebra attached to the pelvic girdle possesses on upright spinous processes [Fig. 71.

    All the vertebrae in front of this have their spines directed slightly backwards. The upright spine of the pelvic vertebra of the reptiles entitles this vertebra to be identified as the anticlinal vertebra. The pelvic anticlinal vertebra is a true centre of movement in such animals. The head, neck and the whole of the trunk may be pulled towards the fixed pelvic girdle. The elongated tail may be pulled up towards the same fixed point. The range of body movements possible with this arrangement of spinous processes and associated muscles are crawling, waddling, shuffling, ambling and aquatic paddling.

    The second type of spinous process disposition (Fig. 8) is seen in the dog which has the spines of the upper trunk and neck vertebrae retroverted. The third last of the dorsal vertebrae is at the anticlinal point, also termed the centre of movement. In watching a greyhound loping along, the anticlinal

    Fig. 6. The nose

    Fig. 7. Diagram of the vertebral column of an animal in which all the spinous processes are retroverted.

    point can be visualized. An animal with such an anticlinal vertebra has the facility to bend its back as a leaf-spring is bent, the apex of the bend being at the anticlinal point. These things are clear enough when we look at the skeleton of a dog or a hare and weave into the bones the picture of the animal laying itself out, and doubling itself up, as it goes at full speed.

    The giraffe advances both limbs of the same side at the same time during quiet progression. In this animal all the cervical, dorsal and lumbar spinous processes slope backwards; there is no centre of movement forward of the hips. It is not surprising that the lumbering elephant, with its peculiarly


    inner side of the foot for the purpose of scratching the skin and dressing the fur, to which offices they are exclusively designed. No better statement could be made concerning their structure and function, nevertheless Owens clear pronouncement - like so many of his dicta - has often been overlooked. We cannot pretend to approach any more nearly to accu- racy by adopting Pococks more recent suggestions that in the koala they are sufficiently well developed to assist in climbing, and in the wombat are large enough to be subservient to digging. It is enough to know that they are used in the toilet and not in climbing or digging; that they are large enough to be used in either of these latter processes is a piece of information of no importance. That our hands are used for a variety of refinements of function is inter- esting, that they are large enough and strong enough to support the body weight in quadrupedal progression is no sound argument that their use lies this way.

    T H E M U L G A R A ( K R E F F T S POUCHED M O U S E )

    It was the marsupials as much as the sunshine which lured Wood Jones to Australian shores. One of his favourite marsupials was the Mulgara. He writes admiringly of this sturdy little animal as f01lows:~

    The Mulgara is an absolutely fearless animal, and beyond doubt it is one of the most intelligent of the marsupials. Those that I have had in captivity have shown the most trusting boldness: they will come confidently to the hand, and although for their size one of the most efficient carnivorous forms, they make no attempt to bite unless molested. . . . for in all things it is a remarkably dainty and clean little animal. . . . They will not kill a sickly fellow, nor will they devour its body when dead; but they vacate the nest in which a dying comrade is lying, and do not molest it in any way.

    These qualities of behaviour are captured by Wood Jones in his drawing of Kreffts Pouched Mouse (Fig. 12).

    THE K O A L A

    Of the koala Wood Jones wrote with feelings of fondness rather than admiration:*

    The animal is wholly inoffensive, and makes a most curiously affectionate even if rather an unintelligent pet. When brought up in captivity it becomes strangely dependent upon human society, and dis- likes being left alone. A Native Bear which has for long been treated as a pet becomes in the end a very exacting and babyish creature. . . . The whole ani- mal smells strongly of eucalyptus, and its excretion of this pungent smelling substance is one of its drawbacks as a pet.

    The distinctive individual characteristics of the koala are portrayed in fine style in his drawing (Fig. 13). The koala with pathetic phylogenetic senility clings to a branch of a tree: the mulgara sits erect with its head high, watchful and alert.

    I1 111 IV

    Fig. 11. Phascolarcrus cinereus. Plantar aspect of left pes.

    Fig. 12. Chaetocercus cristicuudu. From a female speci- men. Three-quarters natural size.

    Wet-nosed animals Figure 14 is taken from the book The Matrix of the Mind published when Wood Jones was in Hon- olulu. The text readsL2

    Lachrymal glands are present in order to keep the eye of the land-living animal moist. The moisture, which bathes the eye escapes down the tear duct and


    Fig. 8. Diagram of the vertebral column of an animal in which the spinous processes are anteverted and retrover- ted to a definite centre of movement.

    rigid backbone, has no dorsal centre of movement and no anticlinal vertebra.

    The mammals of South Australia Figures 9 , 10, 11, 12 and 13 are taken from Wood Jones' book The Mammals of South Australia, lished in three parts in the period 1923-1925.' It contains the prodigious total of 311 line drawn illustrations by the author. It is interesting to com- pare The Mammals of South Australia with the Aus- tralian Museum's 1983 publication the Complete Book of Australian Mammals, which has about the same amount of text material. The editorial team consisted of an editor-in-chief, seven section edi- tors and one hundred and seven contributors." All illustrations are offset photographs.

    r b -

    S K U L L S

    Wood Jones was a master at drawing skulls. In Figure 9, the skull of the Thylacinus (Tasmanian Tiger) is drawn from the dorsal aspect and in Fig. 10 from the ventral aspect. He remarked that 'The skull of Thylacinus is in its general rough outlines so like that of a dog that the reader who cares to proceed further will derive good insight into some of the most curious mammalian problems by noting not only the generalised likeness, but the special- ised total unlikeness of the two types' .'


    This drawing of the pes of the koala (Fig. 11) was used again by Wood Jones in his R. M. Johnston Memorial Lecture in Hobart in 1925 entitled 'The Mammalian Toilet and Some Considerations Aris- ing from it'.'' In that lecture, when speaking of the conjoined pedal digits of the syndactylous marsu- pials he said:

    In 1839 Sir Richard Owen wrote of these peculiar little toes that 'they look like little appendages at the

    Fig. 9. Dorsal view of the skull of Thylacinus to show the principal bones entering into its formation. PM = premaxilla, M = maxilla, N = nasal, L = lachrymal, F = frontal, J = jugal, Z = zygomatic, P = parietal, ST = squamous temporal, SO = supraoccipital.

    Fig. 10. Ventral view of the skull of Thylacinus. PM = premaxilla, M = maxilla, P = palate, J = jugal, Z = zygomatic, S = sphenoid, BO = basioccipital. The teeth have been removed on the right hand side of the figure in order to show the sockets for their roots.


    Sea birds

    Figure 15 is from Wood Jones book Sea Birds Simplified, published in 1934 when he was in Mel- bourne. l 3 Every illustration is accompanied by a poem. One illustration with its corresponding poem is reproduced here:

    The Mother Careys Chicken, or Stormy Petrel When seas are green and wet, And everyones upset, Because the ship is rolling like the dickens,

    Then if your eyes are quick (And if you are not sick) Youll see the little Mother Careys Chickens.

    When tall ships stagger in the gale, And even sailormen turn pale, This little child of storms is sure to be.

    For like the saint of olden time The Stormy Petrel walks sublime Upon the troubled surface of the sea.

    Hair follicle

    Figure 20 is found in the unpublished manuscript, Twelve lectures on anatomy.15 The best of Wood Jones texts to couple with this illustration is from another manuscript: Human Anatomy for Students of Physical Anthropology: which reads: With the

    Hair patterns of marsupials Figures 16, 17, 18 and 19 are taken from Wood Jones book Habit and Heritage, published in 1943 when he was Professor of Anatomy at the Univer- sity of Manchester.I4 One of the most telling of his arguments for the inheritance of acquired character- istics is advanced in this book and these drawings illustrate his argument. He charted the hair pattern of many marsupials and found that the direction of the hair was determined by the manner i...