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Buffon, Œuvres complètes, tome IX

Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière avec la description du Cabinet du Roi (1761)


Text drafted, introduced and annotated by Stéphane Schmitt , with the collaboration of Cédric Crémière

Towards other volumes

"The ninth volume of the Natural History, General and Particular is published in 1761. Buffon and Daubenton there follow the description of the exotic quadrupeds begun in the preceding volume. They deal here with foreign carnivorous animals, starting with a series of cats from Africa, Asia and America : the lion, the tiger, the panther, the ounce, the jaguar, the cougar, the lynx and The caracal, which are followed by some other species, the hyena, the civet, the zibet, the genet and the black wolf. This succession, in a way, parallels that of the predatory species of Europe at the beginning of the seventh volume of 1758.

But this volume must also receive attention because of the three long chapters on animals proper to the Old or New World and those that are common to both. As a kind of vast digression in the course of a discussion of the nomenclature and the misuse of the term "tiger," they offer Buffon a pretext to describe his "general views" on the distribution of species on the surface of the Earth and their possible transformations according to climates. These pages, of considerable importance in the history of the life sciences, mark a decisive stage in the development of Buffon’s thought and in the complex history of the emergence of theories of evolution in the eighteenth century. "

Stéphane Schmitt is director of research at CNRS (SPHERE, UMR 7219, Paris). His research focuses on the history of the life sciences of the eighteenth to the twentieth century, particularly on the development of anatomy and embryology in connection with the development of theories of evolution.

Cédric Crémière, heritage curator and director of the Museum of Natural History of Le Havre, is particularly interested in the history of anatomy and collections.

 :: Champion
 :: Serie "Age des Lumières", n° 0080
 :: 720 pages
 :: September 2016, Paris
 :: ISBN : 9782745329943