. Born August 23
, in Montbéliard
, somewhere in the Jura Mountains
. My geographical knowledge of the period is terrible, but this was apparently almost but not quite France
. His full name was Georges Leopold Chretien Frederic Dagobert Cuvier
. He served under Napoleon
(among other French monarchs), and was made a Baron
at some point.
He is credited as the founder of comparative anatomy, the inventor of Catastrophism, and starting paleontology as a science. He established the extinction of species as a scientific fact, and worked out some of the basic principles of biostratigraphy.
He is known for seeing organisms as necessarily integrated collections of parts. Thus you could reconstruct an organism by close inspection of any one of its parts.
...the component parts of each must be so arranged as to render possible the whole living being, not only with regard to itself, but to its surrounding relations, and the analysis of these conditions frequently leads to general laws, as demonstrable as those which are derived from calculation or experiment.
Because of this, he thought that any great change through evolution
to be impossible, as any change would cause an imbalance in the organism, ending in death.
He started out studying marine invertebrates. They seem to attract great biologists.