Electric Fishes and the Path to Animal Electricity

C. U. M. Smith, Eugenio Frixione, Stanley Finger and William Clower

in The Animal Spirit Doctrine and the Origins of Neurophysiology

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199766499
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950263 | DOI:
Electric Fishes and the Path to Animal Electricity

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This chapter analyzes the evidence that was gathered during the last fifty years of the 18th century about the electric charges of certain fishes. It first studies what people thought about these fishes prior to the “Age of Electrical Experiments,” including some older history and theories. It also considers generalized ideas about animal electricity, such as the thought that electricity could account for nerve and muscle physiology.

Keywords: electric charges; electric fishes; Age of Electrical Experiments; animal electricity; muscle physiology

Chapter.  10737 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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