Georges Cuvier

(1769 - 1832)

French zoologist Georges Cuvier brought new prestige to the old concept of catastrophism, which claimed that the present features of Earth were established through a series of “revolutions”—abrupt upheavals of land and floods. Honoré de Balzac, a great admirer of his, wrote in 1831 that through Cuvier “dead things live anew and lost worlds are unfolded before us!” Cuvier’s catastrophism was supplanted in the mid-nineteenth century by uniformitarian theories regarding consistent geological processes.

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