Le Règne Animal (1816)

We have been working from this book the past few days.

It features a cool wizard spell-book aesthetic and some seriously beautiful illustrations. Not only that, but Le Règne Animal (1816) by Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) is a pretty big deal too because of some super-sized scientific advancements.

This ambitious book aimed to describe the natural structure of the entirety of the animal kingdom arranged by comparative anatomy. The book contains accurate depictions of living animals and their skeletal system, alongside detailed studies of the bone fossils of extinct species. Animals were divided into 4 branches: vertebrates, molluscs, articulated animals (arthropods and annelids), and zoophytes.

Cuvier grouped animals that were related such as elephants and mammoths together, and despite his own rejection of the idea of evolutionary change, his research allowed Charles Darwin and others to later argue for its existence.

Georges Cuvier is sometimes referred to as the father of paleontology. He was the first to establish species extinction as fact. His many accomplishments include his studies on mastodon, the famous extinct elephant-like creatures (which he also named), and on Megatherium, a giant extinct sloth. On the other hand, his research into the presumed differences in the physical structure and mental abilities between races also founded the basis of scientific racism. In the fold-out page of skulls you can see Cuvier’s studies of physical differences between skull samples of different racial groups.

This book features illustrations done in a skilled, tight manner. We edited a few dozen images, cleaning up discolorations and removing dust, as well as removing the illustrations from their backgrounds. Sometimes we separated the elements of a page into multiple images, such as in the image of skulls. If you’re interested in digging deeper into this book click HERE.

You might also enjoy this collection of 16 animal images from the book.

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