Georges Cuvier, Fossil Bones, and Geological Catastrophes: New Translations & Interpretations of the Primary Texts

By M. J. S. Rudwick; George Cuvier | Go to book overview
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14
COLLECTED RESEARCHES ON FOSSIL BONES

By 1810 the spate of Cuvier's papers on fossil vertebrates in the Annales du Muséum had virtually dried up. In that and the following year, he contributed only a single minor paper (on reptile and fish bones from the Paris rocks). However, Cuvier did not fade from the scientific scene or from the public eye. His and Delambre's report on the progress of the sciences (text 14) was finally published in 1810, after many delays; and the revised and greatly expanded version of his and Brongniart's study of the "mineral geography" of the Paris region (text 15) was likewise finally published by the Institut in 1811.

Among other reasons for the decline in Cuvier's output of original work, his new appointment to a major administrative position in higher education was certainly important. It was his responsibility to supervise the incorporation of the universities of the newer territories of Napoleon's empire into the reorganized French system. This work took him to Italy, and then to the Netherlands and Germany; these were his first travels outside France since the start of his career. He made good use of his spare time to inspect fossil collections at first hand, to build up his contacts with foreign informants, and--not least--to convince them that their collaboration would not lead to the enforced removal of their collections to Paris.

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