Georges Cuvier - Tableau élémentaire de l’histoire naturelle des animaux - 1798

Georges Cuvier - Tableau élémentaire de l’histoire naturelle des animaux - 1798
Biology, Natural History - Quantity: 1 - Book

Octavo: 710 pages with 14 engraved plates. Half sheepskin with decorated spine.

This is the first edition of Cuvier's first work on comparative zoology, in which he showed the affinities in structure between present forms of animals, researches which resulted in comparison with older forms and thereby for other theorists suggested evolutionary lines and links. Cuvier is considered as the founder of modern palaeontology by this and his later published work on "ossemens fossiles."

Cuvier's first separate work, "Tableau" is based on a course of lectures he had delivered at l'Ecole normale. It was the first general statement of his natural classification of the animal kingdom. He established the four great classes (vertebrates, molluscs, articulates, and radiates) and classified the animals according to the anatomical structure.

His belief in the inherent regularity and orderliness of nature led him to formulate the taxonomical principle of subordination of characters as a basis for establishing and ranking natural classes of genera; and to conclude that each part of an organism is perfectly and necessarily related to its other parts. Cuvier stressed the importance of description over theory, and his empirical, unspeculative approach had a powerful influence on nineteenth century biological thought.

The book was very well received and Cuvier to fame and fortune, and a prolific career. The human body was not neglected by Cuvier and it often served as a model for his comparisons. The ‘Tableau elémentaire’ begins with an extensive study of man but then turns to other animals with a great emphasis on structure and function.

A fascinating work. Please note damage to the rear end papers and loose sheet.

Lot details
Number of Books
Biology, Natural History
Author/ Illustrator
Georges Cuvier
Book Title
Tableau élémentaire de l’histoire naturelle des animaux
Publication year oldest item
1st Edition
Original language
Paris, Baudouin,
Binding/ Material
Half leather
Number of pages
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