|Egyptian mongoose and rabbit, from the Description de l'Égypte Histoire naturelle
Although Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire collected and observed a multitude of Egyptian vertebrate animals, such as the mongoose, he did not prepare the illustrations. These were done by artists, such as Henri-Joseph Redouté, younger brother of the famous botanical illustrator Pierre Joseph Redouté. The plate of the mongoose (Mangouste ichneumon), which shares space on the page with the Egyptian rabbit, was one of 42 plates contributed by Geoffroy to the Natural History section of the Description.
|Two puffer fish, from the Description de l'Égypte Histoire naturelle
It was while working to complete the section on ichthyology in the Description de l'Égypte that Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire made a discovery about the comparative anatomy of fish. He demonstrated that they were not fundamentally different from other vertebrates in their internal organization, as naturalists then thought. He went on to argue further that all vertebrates have a basic unity of form.