Georges Cuvier quotes

  • Why has not anyone seen that fossils alone gave birth to a theory about the formation of the earth, that without them, no one would have ever dreamed that there were successive epochs in the formation of the globe.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Science #Earth #Fossils

  • Secondly, the nature of the revolutions which have altered the surface of the earth must have had a more decisive effect on the terrestrial quadrupeds than on the marine animals.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Marine #Animal #Earth

  • It has been long considered possible to explain the more ancient revolutions on... the Earth surface by means of these still existing causes; in the same manner as it is found easy to explain past events in political history, by an acquaintance with the passions and intrigues of the present day. But we shall presently see that unfortunately this is not the case in physical history:-the thread of operation is here broken, the march of nature is changed, and none of the agents that she now employs were sufficient for the production of her ancient works.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Passion #Mean #Past

  • It is my object, in the following work, to travel over ground which has as yet been little explored and to make my reader acquainted with a species of Remains, which, though absolutely necessary for understanding the history of the globe, have been hitherto almost uniformly neglected.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Understanding #Littles #Fossils

  • But the revolutions and changes which are responsible for the present state of the earth are not limited to the upsetting of the ancient strata and to the ebbing of the sea after the formations of new layers.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Sea #Upset #Earth

  • Thus it cannot be denied that the masses which today form our highest mountains were originally in a liquid state; for a long time they were covered by waters which did not sustain any life.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Long #Water #Mountain

  • The lowest and most level land areas show us, especially when we dig there to very great depths, nothing but horizontal layers of material more or less varied, which almost all contain innumerable products of the sea.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Sea #Land #Depth

  • The appearance of the bones of quadrupeds, especially those of complete bodies in the strata, tells us either that the layer itself which carries them was in earlier times dry land or that dry land was at least formed in the immediate area.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Land #Dry #Body

  • Moreover, it thus follows that not a great deal of time was needed for the large animals of the three major parts of the world to become known to the people who spent time on the coasts of those regions.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Animal #People #Three

  • Hence the same instant which killed the animals froze the country where they lived. This event was sudden, instantaneous, without any gradual development.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Country #Animal #Events

  • It is evident that one cannot say anything demonstrable about the problem before having resolved these preliminary questions, and yet we hardly possess the necessary information to solve some of them
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Say Anything #Information #Problem

  • My object will be, first, to show by what connections the history of the fossil bones of land animals is linked to the theory of the earth and why they have a particular importance in this respect.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Animal #Land #Earth

  • The traces of upheavals become more impressive when one moves a little higher, when one gets even closer to the foot of the great mountain ranges. There are still plenty of shell layers. We notice them, even thicker and more solid ones.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Moving #Feet #Mountain

  • Genius and science have burst the limits of space, and few 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 a few observations, to ascertain the history of this world, and the series of events which preceded the birth of the human race?
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Men #Space #Race

  • If they [enlightened men] take any interest in examining, in the infancy of our species, the almost obliterated traces of so many nations that have become extinct, they will doubtless take a similar interest in collecting, amidst the darkness which covers the infancy of the globe, the traces of those revolutions which took place anterior to the existence of all nations.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Men #Darkness #Revolution

  • The works which this man [Joseph Banks] leaves behind him occupy a few pages only; their importance is not greatly superior to their extent; and yet his name will shine out with lustre in the history of the sciences.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Hard Work #Men #Names

  • The observer listens to nature: the experimenter questions and forces her to reveal herself.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Force #Observation

  • It is to them [fossils] alone that we owe the commencement of even a Theory of the Earth ... By them we are enabled to ascertain, with the utmost certainty, that our earth has not always been covered over by the same external crust, because we are thoroughly assured that the organized bodies to which these fossil remains belong must have lived upon the surface before they came to be buried, as they now are, at a great depth.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Body #Earth #Fossils

  • At the sight of a single bone, of a single piece of bone, I recognize and reconstruct the portion of the whole from which it would have been taken. The whole being to which this fragment belonged appears in my mind's eye.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Taken #Eye #Sight

  • Nurse, it was I who discovered that leeches have red blood.[]On his deathbed when the nurse came to apply leeches
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Discovery #Blood #Nurse

  • It is in this mutual dependence of the functions and the aid which they reciprocally lend one another that are founded the laws which determine the relations of their organs and which possess a necessity equal to that of metaphysical or mathematical laws, since it is evident that the seemly harmony between organs which interact is a necessary condition of existence of the creature to which they belong and that if one of these functions were modified in a manner incompatible with the modifications of the others the creature could no longer continue to exist.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Law #Harmony #Metaphysical

  • In spite of what moralists say, the, animals are scarcely less wicked or less unhappy than we are ourselves. The arrogance of the strong, the servility of the weak, low rapacity, ephemeral pleasure purchased by great effort, death preceded by long suffering, all belong to the animals as they do to men.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Strong #Animal #Men

  • To spread healthy ideas among even the lowest classes of people, to remove men from the influence of prejudice and passion, to make reason the arbiter and supreme guide of public opinion; that is the essential goal of the sciences; that is how science will contribute to the advancement of civilization, and that is what deserves protection of governments who want to insure the stability of their power.
    -- Georges Cuvier

    #Passion #Men #Civilization