Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The Devil and Georges Cuvier

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Georges Cuvier

They tell a story about [paleontologist Georges] Cuvier to illustrate his confidence in [the] Law of Correlation. It seems that one of his students, who desired to give the Maître a scare, disguised himself as the devil, with the usual horns and hoofs and barb-tipped tail. He penetrated at midnight to Cuvier’s room and, standing by his bedside, roused him from sleep with the announcement, “Cuvier, Cuvier, wake up! I am the Devil and am come to eat you up.” The scientist gazed at him sleepily, looked him over for a moment, and replied, “Hmm—horns—hoofs—you’re graminivorous. You can’t do it.” Whereupon he turned over and went to sleep again and the student retired discomfited.

William Diller Matthew, in The American Museum Journal

Written by nevalalee

June 25, 2016 at 7:30 am

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