Georges Cuvier, French zoologist

Georges Cuvier, French zoologist

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), French zoologist and anatomist. Georges Leopold Chretien Frederick Dagobert Cuvier was educated in Stuttgart, Germany. He extended the work of Linnaeus in classification, most notably of 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 evolutionary theory, believing in periodic catastrophes such as the Biblical flood as an end to existing life and the creation of new and better forms. He was made a peer in 1831. Engraving by Madame Lizinka de Mirbel.

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