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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Cuvier and Brongniart cover




Georges Cuvier and Alexandre Brongniart,
Description geologique des environs de Paris. Atlas.
Donated by Martin Rudwick

From 1804, Georges Cuvier collaborated with Alexandre Brongniart (1770-1847), a mining engineer and professor of natural history. Together they surveyed the Paris region to study the order of the strata in which fossils had been discovered. This stratigraphical study revealed a complex series of layers stretching far back in time. The deposits and fossil finds also showed alternating marine and freshwater conditions in the area and Cuvier incorporated this into his theory of sudden environmental changes as causes of extinction. Cuvier and Brongniart first presented their findings in 1808. This was soon followed by a fuller version of their research, accompanied by the Atlas, consisting of a large coloured map, geological sections and illustrations of fossils.

Cuvier and Brongniart fig

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