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  1. Georges Cuvier was born Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier, on August 23, 1769, in Montbéliard, County of Montbéliard, Kingdom of Würtemberg (department of Doubs in France). His father, Jean George Cuvier, was a ‘Swiss Guards’ lieutenant and a bourgeois of Montbéliard. His mother, Anne Clémence Chatel, tutored him initially ...

    • Extinction
    • Reconstructing Extinct Lifeforms
    • Pterosaurs – Winged Lizards
    • Catastrophism
    • Stratigraphy
    • The Animal Kingdom
    • Cuvier’s Errors
    • Honors and Power
    • Some Personal Details and The End

    In April 1796, Cuvier read his first paper at the National Institute, demonstrating that mammoth bones are different to those of any modern elephants. He established that mammoths, Indian elephants, and African elephants are three distinct species. He then posed the question, where are the living mammoths? Although it might seem obvious to us today...

    Cuvier’s comparative anatomy and principle of the correlation of parts allowed him and others to reconstruct extinct species from limited evidence. For example, an animal with the teeth of a herbivore, such as a sheep, would have an appropriate digestive system, not the digestive system of a carnivore.

    Using his principle of the correlation of parts, in 1800 Cuvier was the first scientist to publish work identifying a fossil as a flying reptile. He named it pterodactyl.

    Cuvier’s observations of fossils led him to theorize that our planet has endured occasional sudden violent events and these have caused extinctions of species. He called these events revolutions. He was not the first to advance a theory of catastrophism, but he provided scientific evidence to back it up. The theory of catastrophism was at odds with...

    Cuvier’s rock strata research with Alexandre Brongniart supported the work of William Smith in establishing one of paleontology’s most important principles: faunal succession. This principle states that the order in which fossils appear in rock layers is reliable and predictable. This means that animals in existence during different geological eras...

    Cuvier’s best known work is Le Règne Animal (The Animal Kingdom) first published in 1817. The book is a comprehensive summary of Cuvier’s studies of fossils and living species, and contains over 300 of Cuvier’s own drawings.

    We’ve Found All the Big Ones In 1812, Cuvier told the world it was unlikely any large fossil animal remained undiscovered. He was wrong. Many large animals have been discovered since then, including, for example Argentinosaurus, discovered in 1987. Interestingly, although no good complete specimens of Argentinosaurushave been found, Cuvier’s princi...

    Cuvier became a friend of Napoleon Bonaparte, which resulted in his being appointed to a number of leading scientific roles. Cuvier had the power to: 1. appoint people he liked to scientific positions, and 2. decide which scientific research work should receive financial support. Other scientists resented Cuvier’s power and characterized him as arr...

    In 1803, age 33, Cuvier married Madame Duvaucel, née Anne Marie Sophie Loquet. She was the same age as Cuvier, and a widow with a son and daughter. Madame Duvaucel’s former husband was one of thousands guillotined during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Cuvier and his wife had four children, three of whom died in childhood. Cuvier saw no re...

  2. A self-appointed referee of proper science from his stronghold in the elite Académie des Sciences, Cuvier was as successful in creating his own image as a great man of science as he was in the many areas of science he studied. Cuvier was born on 23 August 1769, at Montbéliard, a French-speaking community in the Jura Mountains then rule by the ...

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  4. An interesting fact about Georges Cuvier is that just after over 9 months of rigorous studying, Cuvier won a school competition on the German language itself. Due to this, he was able to expose himself to the works of the German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner. 5. Cuvier was a devout Lutheran.

  5. Georges Cuvier was a French scientist from the 18 th century. Cuvier was responsible for the theory of catastrophism and a new way of organizing life based on comparative anatomy. Born in Germany in1769, Cuvier attended a strict military academy called Karlsschule in Germany from age 15 to 19.

  6. Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) joined the fledgling National Museum in Paris in 1795, and quickly became the world’s leading expert on the anatomy of animals. He then used that knowledge to interpret fossils with unprecedented insight.

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