A reprint of a classical work in the Cambridge Library Collection.
Georges Cuvier (1769–1832), one of the founding figures of vertebrate palaeontology, pursued a successful scientific career despite the political upheavals in France during his lifetime. In the 1790s, Cuvier's work on fossil mammoths enabled him to recognise that these were a different species from modern elephants, and that extinction was a scientific fact. He went on to show that many other large mammals had also become extinct. This four-volume work, originally published in 1812, is a collection of Cuvier's geological and osteological papers, focusing on fossil mammals including mastodon, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, ruminants, horses and pigs, and related living species. The introductory essay considers human origins and the formation of the earth, and appeared in English translation in 1813 (also available). Cuvier went on to publish his famous Le Règne Animal, available in the Cambridge Library Collection both in French (1817) and in Edward Griffith's expanded English translation (1827–35).