Comte de Buffon, French naturalist

Comte de Buffon, French naturalist

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), French naturalist. Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, was keeper of the French botanical gardens, and, in 1749, published the first of 44 volumes of his Natural History. This was the first modern work to attempt to examine all of nature, and in it Buffon proposed evolutionary ideas. He noted that some creatures had parts that were useless to them and wrongly deduced that parts, and maybe whole animals, might degenerate. He also thought that the Earth was formed by the collision of a large body with the Sun and believed it might be as old as 75,000 years, rather than the 6000 year limit set by the Bible. 19th-century engraving.

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