baron cuvier

We admire the power by which the human mind has measured the motions of the celestial bodies, which nature seemed to have concealed forever from our view. Genius and science have burst the limits of space; and observations, explained by just reasoning, have unveiled the mechanism of the universe. Would it not also be glorious for man to burst the limits of time, and, by means of observations, to ascertain the history of this world, and the succession of events that preceded the birth of the human race?
—  Georges Cuvier, Essay on the Theory of the Earth (1827)
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Cuvier Day extra plates - All illustrations from publications by Baron Georges Cuvier


Compound eyes of insects - though it was largely his younger brother who studied animal behavior and instinct, Georges Cuvier made extensive notes on the different ways that the insects he kept hunted or appeared to find food.

The differences in their eyes and legs and how those appeared to influence their hunting style/food type fascinated him. Though most of his hypotheses on why or how entomological anatomical features worked were incorrect (as hypotheses are apt to be), Cuvier’s insects kept him occupied for many a happy hour at the Academy, and honed his observational skills immensely.