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George Cuvier
CUVIER, George.

CUVIER, George.
(1769 - 1832)

(Born: Montbéliard, France, 23 August 1769; Died: Paris, France, 13 May 1832) French naturalist.

Baron Georges Leopold Chretien Frédéric Dagobert Cuvier, French naturalist, was born at Montbéliard, and was the son of a retired officer on half-pay belonging to a Protestant family which had emigrated from the Jura mountains on the French-Swiss border as a consequence of religious persecution. He early showed a bent towards the investigation of natural phenomena, and was noted for his studious habits and marvellous memory. After spending four years at the Academy of Stuttgart, he accepted the position of tutor in the family of the Comte d'Héricy, who was in the habit of spending the summer near Fécamp. It thus came about that he made the acquaintance of the agriculturist, AH Tessier, who was then living at Fécamp, and who wrote strongly in favour of his protégé to his friends in Paris - with the result that Cuvier, after corresponding with the well-known naturalist E. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, was appointed in 1795 assistant to the professor of comparative anatomy at the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle.

Biographical references: Callisen, Medicinisches Schriftstellar-Lexicon, 1830-45: 4, 462-80 & 27, 195-202. Catalogue of Portraits of Naturalists: 332 [15 portraits listed]. DBF: 9, 1438-42. DSB: 3, 521-8. Fruton, Bio-Bibliography, 1982: 149 [other refs.]. Mayerhöfer, Lexikon der Naturwissenschaften, 1958-75: 1, 697-9. Poggendorff: 1, col. 507. World Who's Who in Science: 399.

1. French, 1798.
Notice sur un Squellette d'une tres - grande espece de quadrupede inconnue jusqu'apresent, trouvee an Paraguay et deposee au Cabinet d'Histoire naturelle de Madrid. Paris, 1798.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XVII 100.

2. French, 1800.
Extrait d'un ouvrage sur les especes des Quadrupedes, dont on a trouve les ossemens dand l'interieur de la Terre; adr. aux savans et aux amateurs des sciences. Paris, 1800.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XVII 100a.

3. French, 1810.
Rapport Historique | Sur Les Progrès | Des Sciences Naturelles | Depuis 1789, | Et Sur Leur État Actuel, | Présenté à Sa Majesté l'Empereur et Roi, en son Conseil d'état, | le 6 Février 1808, par la Classe es Sciences physiques et mathéma- | tiques de l'Institut, conformément à l'arrêté du Gouvernement du | 13 Ventôse an x; | Rédigé par M. Cuvier, Secrétaire perpétuel de la Classe | pour les Sciences physiques. | [rule] | Imprimé Par Ordre de Sa Majesté. | [ornament] | A Paris, | De L'Imprimerie Impériale. | [wavy rule] | M.DCCC.X.

4°: π3 b4 A-Oo4 Pp2; 158l.; [iii]-xvj, [1]-298, [2] p. Page size: 229 x 152 mm.

Contents: [iii-iv], Half title page, "Rapport Historique | Sur Les Progrès | Des Sciences Naturelles," verso blank.; [v-vi], Title page, verso blank.; [viii]-viij, "Avertissement."; [ix]-xvj, "Table | Des Articles qui composent de Rapport." (=table of contents).; [1]-298, Text.; [1 pg], "Résponse De Sa Majesté."; [1 pg], Blank.

Scarce. The first sections discuss the works of Romé de l'Isle, Haüy and Berthollet. Other portions describe chemistry, hydrology, geology, mineralogy, medicine, surgery, veterinary, etc. In his capacity, again, of perpetual secretary of the Institute, he not only prepared a number of éloges historiques on deceased members of the Academy of Sciences, but he was the author of a number of reports on the history of the physical and natural sciences, the most important of these being the Rapport historique sur le progrès des sciences physiques depuis 1789, published in 1810. There was a corresponding report by Delambre, Rapport historique sur les progrès des sciences naturelles, 1810; and one by Dacier, Rapport sur les progrès de l'histoire et de la littérature anciennes présenté par la Classe d'histoire et littérature ancienne, 1810.

Bibliographical references: Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 142. LKG: I 24. Wheeler Catalogue: no. 702.

4. French, 1812 [Collected works].
Recherches | Sur | Les Ossemens Fossiles | De Quadrupédes, | Ou L'On Rétablit | Les Caractères De Plusieurs Espèces D'Animaux | Que Les Révolutions Du Globe Paroissent Avoir Détruites; | Par M. Cuvier, | [...12 lines of titles and memberships...] | Tome Premier, | Contenant Le Discours Préliminaire Et La Géographie Minéralogiue | Des Environs De Paris. | [tapered rule] | A Paris, | Chez Deterville, Libraire, rue Hautefeuille, N° 8. | 1812.

4 vols. [Vol 1] 4°: [6], [i]-vj, [1]-120, [1]-20, 3 plates (=birds), [i]-viij, [1]-278, [1]-23, [1] p., 2 plates, one large folding hand-colored map. [Vol 2] 4°: [Vol 3] 4°: [Vol 4] 4°:

Contents: [Vol 1] [2 pgs], Half title page, verso blank.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1 pg], "Table Des Articles" (=table of contents).; [1 pg], Dedication, signed Cuvier 31 October 1812.; [i]-vj, "Avertissement."; [1]-116, "... Discours Prélininaire."; [117]-120, "Extrait."; [1]-20, "Mémoire | Sur l'Ibis des anciens Egyptiens."; [3 plates (=birds)].; [i]-iv, "Avertissement."; [v]-viij, "Table Des Articles." (=table of contents).; [1]-278, "Essai | Sur | La Géographie Minéralogique | Des | Environs De Paris, | Par MM. G. Cuvier et Alex. Brongniart."; [1]-23, "Additions Et Corrections."; [1 pg], Blank.; [At end], 2 plates and one large folding geological map.

[Vol 2]

[Vol 3]

[Vol 4]

Very scarce. This lavishly illustrated and brillantly written work collects together Cuvier's many separate publications on fossil remains, essentially founding the science of modern paleontology, and greatly advancing the development of comparative anatomy. His presentation of evidence of progressive development he destroyed the view of immutability of speices and contributed to the Darwinian theory of evolution. The Discours Préliminaire published in volume one (later published as the much discussed Discours sur les Révolutions du Globe) contains the author's famous theory of the remote history of the earth. "In the whole literature of comparative anatomy and paleontology there is scarcely any work that can rank with this great masterpiece" (Zittel).

Contents t. 1. Le discours préliminarie. La géographie minéralogique des environs de Paris. - t. 2. Les pachydermes des couches meubles et des terrains d'allurion. - t. 3. Les os fossiles des environs de Paris. - t. 4. Les ruminans, les onguiculés et les reptiles fossiles.

Facsimile reprint, 1969: Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles de quadrupèdes, ou l'on rétablit les caractères de plusieurs espèces d'animaux que les révolutions du globe paroissent avoir détruites. Paris, Deterville, 1812. [Bruxelles, Culture et civilisation, 1969]. 4 vols.

Bibliographical references: Adams, Birth and Development, 1938: pp. 265-6. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 143 [second edition, 1821-4]. Horblit: no. 20b. LKG: XVII 101b. Nissen (ZBI): no. 1011. Nissen (ZBI): no. 1011. Nordenskiöld, History of Biology, 1935: pp. 337-9. Wood, Literature of Vertebrate Zoology, 1931: p. 307. Zittel, History of Geology, 1901: pp. 135-7 [gives a full account].

Essai sur la Géographie Minéralogique

5. French, 1810.
Essai sur la géographie minéralogique des environs de Paris et tableaux des hauteurs mesurés aux environs de Paris et qui ont servi à dresser les diverses coupes et profils de ce Canton, in: Mémoires de la Classe des Sciences Mathématiques et Physiques de l'Institut Imp. de France, 1810.

4°: 347 p., one hand colored engraved map (size: 75 x 65 cm), 2 engraved folding maps.

Very scarce. The first important geological map of the region around Paris, includingf 11 colors. Geikie (1905) devotes an entire chapter to the importance of this publication.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 355.

6. French, 1811.
Essai sur la Géographie Minéralogique des Environs de Paris, avec une Carte Géognostique, et des Coupes de Terrain. Paris, Baudouin, 1811.

4°: [4], viii, 278 p., 2 folding engraved plates (one hand-colored), one hand-colored folding map of the geology of the basin of Paris. Page size: 250 x 195 mm.

Rare. Co-authored with Alexandre Bronignart. First published in 1808 in Annales du Musée d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, volume II. This is the works first appearance in book form, which has been enlarged through the subsequent investigations of both authors. "These two great men not merely marked out the grouping of the formations in a limited tract of country. They established on a basis of accurate observation the principles of palaeontological stratigraphy. They demonstrated the use of fossils for the determination of geological chronology, and they paved the way for the enormous advances which have since been made in this department of science. For these destinguised labours they deserve an honoured place among the founders of geology" (Geikie). Contained in this work is the first really important geological map on the Paris region incl. 11 colours.

Bibliographical references: Geikie, Founders of Geology, 1905: p. 372. LKG: XIV 355. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 564.

7. French, 1822 [2nd edition].
Description Géologique des environs de Paris. Nouvelle édition dans laquelle on a inséré la descriptions d'un grand nombre de lieux de l'Allemagne, de la Suisse, de l'Italie etc., qui présentent des terrains analogues à ceux du Bassin de Paris. Par M. Alex. Brongiart. Paris, G. Dufour et E. d'Ocagne, 1822.

4°: [4], viii, 428 p., 2 folding engraved maps (one brightly hand-colored geological map of the basin of Paris), 16 lithographed plates (one of which is the hand-colored geological map of the basin of London).

Rare. This edition includes an alphabetical index to all the geological sites around Paris. It is the first French work to adopt the method introduced by William Smith [1769-1839] of determing the respective ages of the rocks by means of the fossils contained in them. Seven plates show fossil shells.

Bibliographical references: BL.

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