Cuvier, Georges

The French scientist Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), now regarded as the founder of paleontology, was at the same time a geologist and comparative anatomist. He conducted wide-ranging research into the zoology and paleontology of vertebrates and invertebrates and wrote about the history of science. At the same time, Cuvier definitively revealed that some organisms that had existed in the past had become extinct and accounted for this in a way diametrically opposed to the theory of evolution.105

Moreover, Cuvier grouped relevant classes into phyla and thus broadened Linnaeus’s classification. (See Linnaeus, Carolus.) He also applied this system to fossils and thus identified the remains of extinct life forms. Since Cuvier believed that animals possessed certain fixed and natural characteristics, he thus opposed both the theory of evolution and Lamarck’s theory that “species could pass on to their offspring characteristics that they had acquired during their lives.106

106 Ibid.
2009-08-14 15:56:31

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