Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles de quadrupèdes

Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles de quadrupèdes
The potential for interpreting the historical nature of Earth’s layers was fully realized in the monumental work of Georges Cuvier and Alexander Brongniart in the Paris Basin. Cuvier and Brongniart’s diagrams, shown here in Recherches sur les Ossemens Fossiles de Quadrupedes (1812), accomplished several related research objectives that were scientific firsts. The “ideal section” shown as “Fig. 3” organizes layers not only by rock type but crucially by fossil assemblages (e.g., cerithes, huîtres, and ossements). The identification of these assemblages allowed the authors to correlate units across large lateral distances, shown here in the central figures that stretch across the entire Paris Basin. The ideal section also contains the paradigm shifting observation, again gathered from the fossil evidence, that the Paris Basin had alternated between periods of marine and freshwater (terrain d’eau douce). This insight revealed that geologic layers could provide a unique history of the different environments, or previous worlds, experienced at a given location. That is, the temporal character of Earth was decidedly not composed of indistinguishable, endlessly repetitive cycles, nor a unidirectional model of progressively falling sea levels.
Call Number (click link to view in library catalog)
Q. 560 C98r1812
Cuvier, Georges
Full Title
Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles de quadrupèdes : ou l'on rétablit les caractères de plusieurs espèces d'animaux que les révolutions du globe paroissent avoir détruites
Chez Deterville
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Bibliographic Citation
Cuvier, Georges. Recherches sur les Ossemens Fossiles de Quadrupedes. Paris: Chez Deterville, 1812.