Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hillaire (April 15,1772 - June 19, 1844) was a French naturalist who established the principle of "unity of composition". He was a colleague of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and expanded and defended Lamarck's evolutionary theories. Geoffroy's scientific views had a transcendental flavor (unlike Lamarck's materialistic views) and were similar to those of German morphologists like Lorenz Oken. He believed in the underlying unity of organismal design, and the possibility of the transmutation of species in time, amassing evidence for his claims through research in comparative anatomy, paleontology, and embryology.

In Popular Culture

French author Honore de Balzac dedicated his novel Le Père Goriot to Saint-Hilaire, "as a tribute of admiration for his labors and his genius."

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