PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon. French naturalist (7 September 1707 - 16th April 1788). Contemporary engraving in "Les Illustres Francais". Buffon is remembered for his 36-volume 'Histoire Naturelle' 1749-1788. Lavishly illustrated it covered the animal and mineral kingdoms. He provided inter-fertility as the criterion for members of a species. He often dared to think beyond the literal truth of the Biblical account of Genesis on such matters as the Earth's age and reproduction. He even entertained ideas that species may transform from their state at the original creation, while at the same time maintaining the fixity of species. All this earned him the condemnation of the Faculty of Theology of the Sorbonne, but did not limit his success or respect as the most widely read author of natural history in the 18th century.
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