448 pages, 408 illustrations
First published in the mid-eighteenth century, this book brings together the original work by a great French scholar – Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon – founder of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. Included here are the so-called 'Suites a Buffon', on oviparous animals, snakes, fish, worms, insects and botany.These sections are then followed by the remaining species from the animal and vegetable kingdoms, composed after the death of Buffon by his students and successors, the greatest specialists in each of these disciplines at the time.
The collection, as the author himself affirms about his work's premise, "offers the reader an exceptional multitude of quadrupeds, birds, fishes, insects, plants and minerals and is an immense and infinite delight for the curiosity of the human spirit".
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Georges-Louis Leclerc, count of Buffon (1707-1788), treasurer of the Academy of Sciences, member of French Academy, the Royal Society of London, the Edinburgh Academy, the Saint Petersburg Academy and the Institute of Bologna, was named, in 1739, Governor of the Jardin du Roi in Paris and was responsible for restructuring this institute and founding the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. He was most famous for his masterpiece Histoire Naturelle, Generale et Particuliere, in which he shows the similarities between man and monkey, and the possibility of common genealogy.