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Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier (Georges Cuvier)
Transcript of Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier (Georges Cuvier)
Opposed the idea of organic evolution.
Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier
Born: August 23, 1769
Died :May 13, 1832 at the age of 62
Father: Jean George Cuvier
Mother: Anne Clemence Chatel
Brother: Frédéric Cuvier
Family and Birth
Wife: Anne Marie Coquet de Trazaille
Children: All four of his children died before him
The first a son soon after birth
Second his four year old daughter
Third a seven year old son
Fourth his daughter Clementine who passed at twenty-two
from tuberculosis on the eve of her wedding
Early Life and School
Studied at Carolinian Academy in Stuttgart from
Tutor to a nobel family in Normandy to escape the French Revolution
Invited to Paris by Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire where he was appointed assitant and a professor of animal anatomy at the National Museum of Natural History
Napolean came to power and appointed government positions to Cuvier including State Councillor and Inspector-General of public education
National Museum of Natural History Paris (today)
"...the component parts of each must be so arranged as to render possible the whole living being, not only with regard to itself, but to its surrounding relations, and the analysis of these conditions frequently leads to general laws, as demonstrable as those which are derived from calculation or experiment." (Georges Cuvier)
Any change to the organisms original anatomy would make it unable to survive
This view caused him to classify all living organisms into four major branches: Vertebrata, Articulata (arthropods and segmented worms), Mollusca, and Raidata (jelly fish and starfish)
This lead him to establish extinction as a fact.
At the time the idea of extinction was still not widely excepted for the belief that God had created all things and were therefor good so he would not let them be wiped out
He used the bones of the African and Indian elephants to prove that not only were they separate species but both were in fact separate from the Wooly Mammoths
Animals like the mammoths were still believed by some to exist on some other country possibly even in the newly colonized States of America
He proposed the idea of extinction and catastrophism but tried to avoid the use of it for its quasi-supernatural tone
"All of these facts, consistent among themselves, and not opposed by any report, seem to me to prove the existence of a world previous to ours, destroyed by some kind of catastrophe." (Cuvier)
Above Mammoth jaw bone
Below Indian Elephant Jaw bone
Widely remembered for his uncanny ability to reconstruct through drawing the skeleton of an animal with few or one bone with great accuracy
Some animals have been named after him like Anolis cuvieri, galeocerdo cuvier (Tiger shark), Catonyx cuvieri (giant sloth extinct from south america), and Cuvier's Beaked Whale which he thought to be extinct
By the time of his death he had been knighted, made a Baron, and a Peer of France
Served and survived under three opposing french governments Revolution, Naploeonic, and Monarchy
Cuvier's Beaked Whale
Not the giant sloth
California Museum of Paleontology. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/history_08
van Wyhe, J. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.victorianweb.org/science/cuvier.html
Waggoner, B. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/cuvier.html