CUVIER, GEottoEs LEOPOLD CIIRETIEN FRE DERIC DAGOBERT, Baron de (1769-1832). A French naturalist, founder of the science of comparative anatomy, horn at Monthiliard, then in the Duchy of Wiirttemberg, to which place his father, for merly an officer in a Swiss mercenary regiment, had retired on a pension. He was educated at home in the strictest tenets of the French Protes tant or Calvinistic faith, and at the age of four teen entered the academy at Stuttgart, where he remained four years. His father intended him for the ministry, but he showed such a love for natu ral history that he was allowed to spend his time in pursuing such studies in that branch of sci ence as the academy afforded, and supplemented them with reading almost every scient ilk book in the library. In 178s, he became tutor i II the family of the Comte a Protestant nobleman living near Caen, on the coast of Normandy. Here, during the stormy years of the Reign of Terror, he remained, quietly utilizing the rather unusual facilities the neighborhood offered for the study of marine animal life and fossil Iv mains, thus laying the foundations of his future eminence. A chance acquaintance with the Abb.'. Tessier, a writer on agricultural subjects, who was struck with young Cuvier's remarkable knowledge of zoiilogy, secured for him an intro duction to Gi.offr(>3. Saint-Hilaire, who at once recognized in Cuvier a man of genius, and urged him to move to Paris. Here, in 17:15, he became, through the influence of Lacepede, Lamarck, and others, assistant to Alertrud, the professor of comparative anatomy at, the .\Ilis6e d'iiistoire. Naturelle. He immediately took a high position among the scientists in Paris. and was chosen one of the original members of the Institute upon its organization in 1795. In 1796 lie was chosen professor of natural history at the central school of the Pantheon, and in 1800 lie succeeded Daubenton in a shnilar posi tion at the College de France. In 1802 he sue reeded Mertnid at the lardin des Plantes. Iii 1798 appeared his first separate work, Tabican de l'histaire naturelle des unimaus, in which he introduced tentatively his elassifica tion of animals upon which so much of his fame rests, Between 1800 and 1805 were published the five volumes of his Lecons eranotomie, which brought together the hitherto dis•onneeted knowl edge of comparative anatomy, and gave him the right to be considered the founder of that branch of science. In 1800 he published his first work on paleontology, Menioirrs snr less espi•res dY1,' phants rirants et fossiles. At the opening of the nineteenth century, therefore, envier may he said to have already attracted the attention of the scientific world to the three branches with which his name will always be emme•ted.
Cuvier began his career as an administrator in 1802, when he was appointed an inspector of education under the Consulate. and helped estab ish lye es at Bordeaux, and Nice. From 1808 to 1813, as a member of the council of the Imperial University under Napoleon, he spent eonsiderable time in Italy, Holland, and Germany, organizing the academies in the dis tricts recently annexed to the Empire. In 1814 Napoleon made him a Ciouwilor of State. a posi tion which he continued to hold under Louis XVIII. In 1819 he became president of the Committee of the Interior, and chancellor of the University of Paris. He was made a member of
the Academy in ISIS, and a grand officer of the Legion of honor in I82(1. In 1S22 lie was ap pointed grand master of the faculties of Protes tant theology, in which position he had super vision of all the civil, political, and religious a of Protestant institutions and organiza tions. In 1831 Louis Philippe made him a peer of France, and ill 1S32, shortly before his death, was considering him for the office of Minliter of the Interior.
With all his administrative duties, Cuvier still found time and opportunity to pursno his scientific investigations. His life work falls natu rally into three divisions; paleontology, sys tematic zoology, and comparative anatomy. In each of these departments, he achieved remark able success, a ml left a lasting impression, in spite of mistakes due largely to personal pecu liarities derived from his Calvinistic training. such as his refusal to accept the theory of descent. His investigations in paleontology marked a great advance over the existing knowl edge of the subject. By means of his knowledge of comparative anatomy, and his theory of the correlation of growth, Cuvier 'reconstructed' a large number of extinct animals, proving that every geological epoch is represented by distinct animal forms, having a similarity well defined to animals in preceding or succeeding epochs. Nevertheless, he held to the Linmean doctrine of the constancy of species. and looked upon the similarity of animal forms in successive epochs as a recurrence of types rather than a steady development of the same type. in comparative anatomy his work in special fields was as remark able as it was valuable. His investigations of the comparative anatomy of fishes, and of the oste olo,y of mammals. may be mentioned as two of his most valuable contributions to zoology. In systematic zoology his work was of great originality and importance. for to him is due the reclassification of the animal kingdom on a natural basis. in place of the artificial and arbi trary classification of Curler's system was based on the constancy and morphological resemblance of types. rather than on outward similarities of structure, as in the Linmean sys tem. It remained the standard arrangement of animals until set aside by modern investigators, who studied the relationship of animals in the light of their ontogeny and phylogeny. CuvierN great work, Le refine animal (1816), became at once the standard reference book in natural his tory: several editions were issued, and the work was translated into English and other languages, and profoundly influenced zoological studies everywhere.
Among his published works not noted above may be mentioned: Les reptiles doutcua' (1807) ; Recherches sur ifs oss(mcnts fossiles des quadru pedes (1812) : Memoire pour serrir d l'histoirc et is l'a»ato»zic des mollusgues (1816) ; Descrip tion des enrirons (le Paris (1822) Histoire naturelle des poissons (1828) : Diseours sur les rerolutions de la surface do globe et sur les ehangements qu'elles o»t produit.s dans le reg»e animal (1851). Consult: Lee, Memoirs of Baron ('crier (New York. 1833: French transla tion, Paris, 1833) ; Flourens, Histoire des tea rani' dr Georges ('crier (Paris. 1845) : Ducrotay de Blainville. ('crier et Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire ( Paris, 1890).