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Cuvier, Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert (‘Georges’), Baron

Cuvier, Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert (‘Georges’), Baron (1769–1832) Professor at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, where he developed the discipline of comparative anatomy and applied it to the study of fossil quadrupeds in his Recherches sur les ossements fossiles de quadrupèdes (1812). Its Discours préliminaire (1811), in which he outlined a theory of multiple catastophes, became one of the most influential scientific treatises of the early 19th century. With Brongniart he produced a map of the Paris basin, having used his fossil studies to work out the stratigraphy. Cuvier opposed Lamarckian evolution, arguing that species were stable and became extinct because of ‘revolutions’ (changes in sea level, etc.). See CATASTROPHISM; DILUVIANISM; and LAMARCKISM.

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