Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788)

"Style is the man himself" (1753)

Newtonian biologist and cosmologist. Formulated a species concept based on interbreeding; questioned the fixity of species; argued for an ancient earth. Anticipated Lamarckism in a theory that derived closely similar species from a common ancestor by a process of degeneration; these ancestral forms were spontaneously, but non-randomly generated. Buffon's views influenced the next two generations of French naturalists, including Lamarck, Geoffroy, and Lacépède.


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