historical figures in evolution

Evolution Before Darwin: Georges Cuvier.


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Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)

Cuvier was a French naturalist, director of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, considered to be the founder of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology, who dedicated his life to studying the remains of animal bones kept in the museum and compared them to living animals. He understood that the differences between two anatomies were not the result of pure chance, but about the relationship between the species. Cuvier was the first to say that the shape of the teeth of an animal is not arbitrary but a product of their diet. Only by observing a bone, a tooth or a hoof, he could conclude which animal it belonged to and what kind of life it had. Since he never saw any intermediate fossils between species, he opposed Transformism, the term used to describe evolution at the time.

He supported Catastrophism, a theory that assumes past violent events affected the planet and caused the extinction of species and their substitution by others that remained unchanged for very long periods of time. As for humans, not daring to suggest whether their origin was supernatural or not, he claimed that we had appeared in the world very recently.

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