GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Comte de Buffon. Portrait of the French naturalist Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788). 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. From an 1833/37 book.
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