Portrait of Georges Cuvier

Portrait of Georges Cuvier

H403/0117

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Caption

Baron Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), French zoologist and anatomist. Cuvier was the son of a soldier, and was educated at Stuttgart. He was a brilliant student with a passion for natural history. Cuvier extended the work of Linnaeus in classification, most notably in the molluscs and fishes. In 1811 he became the founder of vertebrate palaeontology by classifying fossil mammals and reptiles. He also developed comparative anatomy, the deduction of the shape and purpose of an entire extinct animal from a few bones. He rejected evolution theory, believing in periodic catastrophes such as the Biblical flood as an end to existing life and the creation of new and better forms.

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