Jeffries Wyman, an American comparative anatomist, born in Chelmsford, Mass., Aug. 11, 1814, died in Bethlehem, N. II., Sept. 4, 1874. His father, Rufus Wyman, was the first physician of the McLean asylum for the insane. Jeffries graduated at Harvard college in 1833, received the degree of M. D. in 1837, and became demonstrator to the professor of anatomy, Dr. John Collins Warner. In 1839 he was appointed curator of the Lowell institute, Boston, and in 1840 was selected to deliver a course of lectures for it. He then studied in Europe, and in 1843 became professor of anatomy and physiology in the medical department of Hampden Sidney college, Richmond, Va. In 1847 he accepted the chair of anatomy in Harvard university, and began the formation of the museum of comparative anatomy, to • which he devoted a large part of his life. For this work he travelled extensively, and his collections rapidly outgrew all the accommodations provided for them. On the foundation of the archaeological museum by George Peabody in 1866, Prof. Wyman was appointed curator. He was secretary of the Boston society of natural history, its curator successively in different departments, and its president from 1856 to 1870. In 1857 he was chosen president of the American association for the advancement of science.
His two collections, that of comparative anatomy and that of archaeology, are monumental. His experiments on the development of infusoria in infusions of organic matter, after long continued boiling in sealed vessels, are among the most thorough and satisfactory which have been made on this crucial subject. His observations on the development of mould in the interior of eggs bear on the same disputed question. He made visible at a distance, and even measured, the force of ciliary motion, by an exquisitely contrived little apparatus of his own invention. He studied the effect of light on the development of batrachian larvae, and illustrated the action of a quasi-polar force in the formation of a doubleheaded foetus and similar monstrosities, and in the differentiation and disposition of the embryonic elements generally, in the most striking manner, by the action of bar magnets on iron filings. In comparative anatomy his knowledge was first made known to the public by his exposure of the factitious character of the composite fabric exhibited as the skeleton of an extinct sea serpent, under the name of hiydrarchus Tillimani. In the catalogue of scientific papers compiled and published by the royal society of London is a list of 64 articles by Prof. Wyman, and a mention of four others bearing his name in conjunction with those of Prof. Hall, Prof. Horsford, and Dr. Savage. Among his most important published papers are the following: "Observations on Crania;" "Report on the Examination of the Skeleton of a Hottentot;" "Arrangement of the Spicula of Cancellated Structure in the Neck of the Femur and other Bones;" "Description of the Brain and Cranial Cavity of Daniel Webster;" "Account of a hitherto unnoticed Fracture of the two lower Lumbar Vertebrae;" "Evidence in a Murder Trial on the Changes of Bones subjected to great Heat;" "On the Nervous System of Rana Pipiens;" "On the Embryology of Raia Batis;" and his description of the gorilla.
His pamphlet entitled "Notes on the Cells of the Bee" is a model of accurate, patient, ingenious research, leading to conclusions quite different from those of noted observers who had gone before him. His most recent papers relate to archaeological subjects, the last one (read at a meeting of the society of natural history, May 20, 1874) being on the discovery of human remains in the fresh-water shell heaps of Florida.