Buffon’s engravings

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Buffon’s engravings

Buffon’s relevance to modern biology

Charles Darwin wrote in his preliminary historical sketch added to the third edition of On the Origin of Species:

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Buffon’s engravings

Buffon’s relevance to modern biology

Charles Darwin wrote in his preliminary historical sketch added to the third edition of On the Origin of Species:

“Passing over … Buffon, with whose writings I am not familiar”. Then, from the fourth edition onwards, he amended this to say that “the first author who in modern times has treated it [evolution] in a scientific spirit was Buffon. But as his opinions fluctuated greatly at different periods, and as he does not enter on the causes or means of the transformation of species, I need not here enter on details”.

Buffon’s work on degeneration, however, was immensely influential on later scholars but was overshadowed by strong moral overtones.