- Cuvier , Baron Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert
- (1769–1832) French anatomist and taxonomistCuvier was born in Montbéliard (now in France) and as a child was greatly influenced by Georges Buffon's books. In 1795 he became assistant to the professor of comparative anatomy at the Museum of Natural History in Paris – then the world's largest scientific research establishment. During his lifetime he greatly enlarged the comparative anatomy section from a few hundred skeletons to 13,000 specimens. Cuvier extended Linnaeus's classification, creating another level, the phylum, into which he grouped related classes. He recognized four phyla in the animal kingdom and his work on one of these, the fishes, is recognized as the foundation for modern ichthyology. Together with Achille Valenciennes, Cuvier compiled the lengthy Histoire des poissons, nine volumes of which had appeared by his death. The fish families delimited in this work remain as orders or suborders in today's classification. Cuvier was the first to classify fossils and named the pterodactyl. His results from investigations of the Tertiary formations near Paris are published in four volumes asRecherches sur les ossements fossiles des quadrupèdes (1812).In 1799 Cuvier became professor of natural history at the Collège de France and in 1802 was also made professor at the Jardin des Plantes. In his later life he became increasingly involved in educational administration and played a large part in organizing the new Sorbonne.
Scientists. Academic. 2011.