Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672-1733) was a Swiss physician by training, with a strong interest in natural history and paleontology. Like many scientists of the day, he considered the Old Testament a factual account of the history of the earth. In his extensive travels, he amassed one of the largest fossil collections of the 18th century. He hypothesized that all plants had perished in the flood described in the Bible and discovered what he believed to be the fossil of a human flood victim. In his masterpiece, Physica Sacra, he details his theory at length, using references to the 1611 King James Bible. The book was a sensation and was published simultaneously in Latin, German, and French, each issue with exactly the same plates. His theories were not disproved until the work of Cuvier.
The superbly powerful illustrations included were by well-known artists of the day, including Corvinus, Sperling, and Linz. They represent the pinnacle of copper plate engraving, as well as depicting many subjects for the first time. This copper plate engraving has been masterfully hand-colored to render the prints superbly decorative.