Georges Cuvier

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Georges Cuvier

Georges Cuvier
Born 23 August 1769
Died 13 May 1832
Nationality French
Fields natural history, paleontology, anatomy
Institutions Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Known for establishing extinction, catastrophism, opposition to evolution, stratigraphy

Baron Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert Cuvier (23 August 1769–13 May 1832), usually called Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist.[1]

Cuvier was a very important figure in scientific circles in Paris during the early 19th century. He helped establish the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology by comparing living animals with fossils. He proved extinction was a fact. He was the most influential person believing in catastrophism in geology in the early 19th century. His most famous work is the Règne animal distribué d'après son organisation 1817; translated into English as The Animal Kingdom.

Cuvier was a member of the elite Académie française and the French Academy of Sciences. He is remembered for strongly opposing the evolutionary theories of Lamarck and Geoffroy. Cuvier believed there was no evidence for the evolution of organic forms, but there was evidence for successive creations after catastrophic extinction events.[2]

Some of Cuvier's most influential followers were Louis Agassiz, and Richard Owen. His is one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.

He was the elder brother of Frédéric Cuvier (1773–1838), also a naturalist. Cuvier died in Paris, of cholera.

References[change | change source]

  1. Outram, Dorinda 1984. Georges Cuvier: vocation, science and authority in post-revolutionary France. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  2. Larson, Edward J. 2004. Evolution: the remarkable history of a scientific theory. New York: Modern Library. ISBN 0-679-64288-9