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Transcript of Georges Cuvier
born August 23, 1769 in Montebeliard
Carolinian Academy 1784-1788
became tutor for noble family
1795 went to Paris
became assistant & professor of animal anatomy at Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle
State Councillor & Inspector- General of public education
Throught lifetime he was knighted and made both a Baron and Peer of France
Died May 13, 1832
Biography by Alysha Davis
Background Image URL: http://www.lindahall.org/events_exhib/exhibit/exhibits/darwin/img/aa_crop/Cuv_sloth_skel_1812_dar03403x.jpg
Appointed to positions by Napoleon
Cuvier acted as State Councillor under 3 different French Kings. Which means he served " under three different, opposing French governments (Revolution, Napoleonic, and monarchy)". (Waggoner)
Contributions to the development of evolutionary thought
"established extinctions as a fact that any future scientific theory of life had to explain." (Understanding Evolution).
Cuvier helped integrate the idea of organismal function into biology
Some of his ideas, especially that of extinction, was not widely accepted by the church. However, he led a long career full of new ideas and theories that were tools for future biologists as well as great advancements in science.
"revolutions" or catastrophes
classify animals by "branches"
Black and white image: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/books/nzbirds/images/figure3-cuvier.jpg
Colored picture: http://imagecache6.allposters.com/LRG//13/1346/59ES000Z.jpg
"revolutions" or catastrophes
Classify animals by "branches"
Others had argued ideas like it before but many refused it because it went against religious beliefs.
Examined Elephant bones
compared fossils found near Paris to bones of living elephants in Africa and India.
found that in different places the living and dead elephants were very different.
came to the conclusion that instead of just going unnoticed the species of elephant that belonged to the fossils near Paris was no longer alive.
The Earth goes through changes which can lead to extinction
when 1/2 or more of all alive species disappear
causes of extinction could be asteroids, volcanoes, etc...
extinction of some animals provides opportunity for new groups of species to take over
Darwin's: species have to adapt to changing environments or withstand competition.
Charles Lyell: doubted species going extinct in "catastrophes."
"Just as the planet's geology changed gradually, so did its species become extinct gradually as new species were formed."
Articulata (arthropods and segmented worms)
Mollusca (at the time meant all other soft, bilaterally symmetrical invertebrates)
Radiata (cnidarians and echinoderms)
branches not connected by evolutionary transformations or ancestry but rather similarities between organisms meant they had similar functions
other scientists suggested animal morphology or affects from the environment played a factor. They thought instead that dissimilar organisms with different functions might still have a common body structure. Cuvier opposed these ideas.
"function determines form, form does not determine function" (Waggoner).
"Extinctions: Georges Cuvier." Understanding Evolution. Berkeley, n.d. Web. 11 Jan. 2014. <http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/history_08>.
Waggoner, Ben. "Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)." Georges Cuvier. Berkeley, 21 Jan. 2009. Web. 11 Jan. 2014. <http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/cuvier.html>.