JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Georges Leopold, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832) after an engraving by Chollet of 1830. Cuvier is known as the founder of paleontology, as a result of his research and classification of fossils. His first interest was comparative anatomy, by which process the structure of an entire animal may be deduced from just a few bones. He extended the work of Linnaeus in the classification of animal life, including the first division of fossils into phyla and groups. His work fell short of proposing a theory of evolution due to his belief in the literal meaning of the Book of Genesis. He subscribed instead to the theory of successive catastrophic flooding put forward by Bonnet.
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