Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Baron George Cuvier's Comparative Animal Anatomy



Le Règne animal distribue d’après son organisation by Baron George Cuvier is a collection of five volumes describing the species of the animal kingdom, organized by their relationships to one another. This is the second edition of the text, published in 1829, which appeared in its original form in 1817. All of the volumes include a small introduction to the volume’s specific subject, an index, and hundreds of entries including some for extinct species. There are no illustrations in the text volume, but a collection of accompanying plates and images was published separately in nine volumes by a friend of Cuvier.[1]

Baron George Cuvier (1769-1832) was a French naturalist and zoologist. He was heavily influenced by the works of Linnaeus. He did extensive anatomical studies of both modern specimens and paleontological remains that he had found which were critical to confirmation of the theory of extinction. While he did not believe in evolution, his work and discoveries would be cited as evidence for the theories put forward by Darwin.[2]

[1] Guérin-Méneville, Felix-Edouard (1829–1844).Iconographie du règne animal de G. Cuvier: ou, représentation d'aprés nature de l'une des espèces les plus remarquables, et souvent non encore figurées, de chaque genre d'amimaux . Avec un texte descriptif mis au courant de la science (50 parts in 9 volumes, quarto ed.). Paris: J. B. Baillière.

[2] Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Review, "Life of Cuvier," 1835, 451–463.


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"Natural History of Man" by James Cowles Prichard (1848)


James Cowles Prichard's work, The Natural History of Man, is a pre-Darwinian text that attempts to categorize all known races in the world in order to create an organized account based on the varying characteristics of the races. Prichard's work emphasizes the university of man as a single species, thus holding the biblical notion of man derived from a single being true. He went against the current trend in anthology, lead by scientist Bluemenbach, in that he did not believe that a race's characteristics could simply be defined by mere observational information. Yet in this text, Prichard serves to provide a description of various races, both physical and cultural while simultaneously highlighting the unity of man as a single species. His work begins with a brief scientific overview of anthropological categorization popular during the time and then proceeds to provide numerous "case studies" of different races in which he incorporates various explorer's observations and insights along with his own commentary.


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