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Georges, Baron Cuvier, French anatomist

Georges, Baron Cuvier, French anatomist

C004/1063

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ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Georges Leopold Chretien Frederic Dagobert Cuvier (1769-1832), French zoologist and anatomist. Born of humble origins in eastern France, he was tutored by his mother before entering school at age 10. By 18 he had taken up a tutoring post of his own to fund his studies. In 1795 he moved to Paris to work at the Jardin des Plantes. He extended the work of Linnaeus in classification to the study of extinct species. He established comparative anatomy as a means to study extinct animals by comparison with living species by a process he called the principle of correlation of parts. With Brongniart he proposed the idea of stratigraphy, a major step in the development of palaeontology. He rejected the gradualist theories of evolution, preferring to believe in catastrophic events such as the Biblical flood as the driving force behind change. He was created Baron Cuvier in 1831.

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