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.