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Georges Cuvier
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Scientist
    (August 23, 1769-May 13, 1832)
    Born in Montbeliard, France
    Birth name was Georges Leopold Chretien Frederic Dagobert Cuvier
    Naturalist and zoologist
    Instrumental in creating the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology
    Ennobled as a baron (1819)
    Main work was 'The Animal Kingdom' (1817-30)
    Namesake for Cuvier's beaked whale, Cuvier's gazelle and Cuvier's toucan
    He had too many middle names.
    He said science had discovered all living species of large mammals and should concentrate on studying extinct species (1812); seven years later, the 700-pound Indian tapir was discovered.
    His criticisms of the evolutionary theories of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck have been seized on by modern creationists.
    One biographer noted, 'During the Revolution he was very thin; he become stouter during the Empire; and he grew enormously fat after the Restoration.'
    He learned German in just nine months.
    He demonstrated that mammoths and mastodons are separate species from modern elephants, establishing extinction as a fact among fellow scientists.
    Based on the discovery of pterodactyl fossils (1809), he speculated that there had been a time when reptiles rather than mammals had been the dominant animals.
    He was named a grand officer of the Legion of Honor (1826).

Credit: C. Fishel


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