Sunday 11 August 2019

952) Georges Cuvier

Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric, Baron Cuvier (1769 – 1832), known as Georges Cuvier. French naturalist and zoologist, sometimes referred to as the "founding father of paleontology". Cuvier was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils.
Cuvier's work is considered the foundation of vertebrate paleontology, and he expanded Linnaean taxonomy by grouping classes into phyla and incorporating both fossils and living species into the classification. Cuvier is also known for establishing extinction as a fact—at the time, extinction was considered by many of Cuvier's contemporaries to be merely controversial speculation. In his Essay on the Theory of the Earth (1813) Cuvier proposed that now-extinct species had been wiped out by periodic catastrophic flooding events.
Among his other accomplishments, Cuvier established that elephant-like bones found in the USA belonged to an extinct animal he later would name as a mastodon, and that a large skeleton dug up in Paraguay was of Megatherium, a giant, prehistoric ground sloth.
Cuvier is also remembered for strongly opposing theories of evolution, which at the time (before Darwin's theory) were mainly proposed by Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Cuvier believed there was no evidence for evolution, but rather evidence for cyclical creations and destructions of life forms by global extinction events such as deluges.
His most famous work is Le Règne Animal (1817; English: The Animal Kingdom). 

- "Georges Cuvier, born in 1769, had bright, penetrating blue eyes, thick, wavy red hair, heavy features and an aptitude or survival."…

- "Cuvier had stage presence, accentuated by thick red hair, and he could hold an audience's rapt attention."

- "Thus this young man with bright blue eyes, thick red hair, heavy features, and disheveled clothing began his education as a select member of the court."…/dictionaries-…/cuvier-ceorges

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