In a well-known note to Charles Leopold Laurillard's Eloge, prefixed to the last edition of the Ossemens fossiles, the " radical de l'etre " is much the same thing as Aristotle's " particula genitalis " and Harvey's " ovum."
Early trained as a comparative anatomist, the discovery of Upper Eocene mammals in the gypsum quarries of Montmartre found him fully prepared (1798), and in 1812 appeared his Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles, brilliantly written and constituting the foundation of the modern study of the extinct vertebrates.
Following Cuvier's Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles, the rich succession of Tertiary mammalian life was gradually revealed to France through the explorations and descriptions of such authors as Croizet, Jobert, de Christol, Eymar, Pomel and Lartet, during a period of rather dry, systematic work, which included, however, the broader generalizations of Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville (1778-1850), and culminated in the comprehensive treatises on Tertiary palaeontology of Paul Gervais (1816-1879).
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