Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Influence's On Charles Darwin's Work: Georges Cuvier

Impact on Darwin:
Georges Cuvier influenced Charles Darwin's ideas of evolution by thinking that living things could be put into four different categories. This idea showed similaries between animal's where otheres did not see them. Darwin used this to enhance his idea of how living things would change between generations to accomidate their surroundings. They body's changed based on what their environment called them to do. This was part of the idea of resources being limited and the need to survive.
Darwin could see the similarities between species based on their body types and find the changes because of Cuvier's work with such things. The idea of a species changing between generations to adapt to their surrounds calls for the species to reproduce. the idewa of evolution and change within a species is based on the idea of the species being able to reproduce and to reproduce they would need access to resources. Resources can only be accessed by those who can get to their resources.
I think Darwin would have gotten to the idea of evolution on his own but it would have taken longer and might not have been as obvious for him to see the changes. Cuvier showed the connections between animals, the in between changes of a generation and Darwin saw that.
The church effected his work because he didnt want to cause a ton of controversy. Though he eventually did because he published his book, though the church was understanding and didnt condem him for what he had discovered. Instead they gave him a great honor and buried him in Westmionster Abbey along side Sir Isaac Newton.
Idea of Evoultions Used:
*Resources are limited.
*Organisms with better access to resources will be more successful in their reproductive efforts.
*In order for natural selection to occur, reproduction must occur.
*If the environment changes, the traits that are helpful or
adaptive to that environment will be different.



  1. Cuvier was actually a proponent of a theory called "catastrophism", which suggested that evolution did NOT occur but that every once in a while, species went extinct and new ones were created. Cuvier did contribute somewhat to categorization and he did a lot of fossil description, but he was an opponent of evolution and that was his primary influence with respect to Darwin's work.

    So given that information, what influence might he have had on Darwin's work? Could he have developed his theory of natural selection without Cuvier's opposition to evolution or his theory of catastrophism?

    The church did eventually honor Darwin, but that wasn't it's first response. The key problem was Darwin's reluctance to publish in the first place. Why would controversy have been a bad thing? Who would it have impacted and how? Who was Darwin afraid of hurting?

  2. As they say "We are all products of our environment." It is hard to grasp that Cuvier believed that animals did not evolve but that animals had migrated from a region that was not affected by some sort of natural disaster. But then of the other hand Darwin came about with natural selection and just shook everyone’s understandings of where and how we came about.