Saturday, November 1, 2008

Georges-Louis Le Clerc, Comte de Buffon

Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon was a naturalist, mathematician and biologist in the eighteenth century France. His work influenced generations of naturalists including Charles Darwin who credited Buffon with treating the idea of natural selection with a scientific spirit. As the University of California, Berkeley website about evolution points out, "It is not the average person who questions 200 years of dogma..."

The work he is remembered for is the Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière.
The plate reproduced here is from that work.

The history had in it everything known about the natural world to that date and included the observation that despite similar environments, different locations produced different species.

Histoire Naturelle
on the web in English translation, but unfortunately without the plates.

Double page photographs of some of the volumes at the Kyoto University Library

Wikipedia biography.

You can search for a copy yourself at
Use the search terms "Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulièr".

Also see my other post: The Human Skeleton.

368 Animal Illustrations (Dover Pictorial Archive Series)

Barr's Buffon. Buffon's Natural History. Containing A Theory of the Earth, A General History of Man, of the Brute Creation, and of Vegetables, Minerals, Etc. at

Buffon: A Life in Natural History (Cornell History of Science Series)

From Natural History to the History of Nature: Readings from Buffon and His Critics

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