Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffonwikipedia
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (7 September 1707 – 16 April 1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopédiste.
BuffonComte de BuffonLeclerc de BuffonCount BuffonGeorges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffonde BuffonGeorges-Louis LeclercGeorges-Louis Leclerc de Buffonthe Comte de BuffonGeorges-Louis Leclerc, the Comte de Buffon

Histoire Naturelle

Histoire naturelle, générale et particulièreHistoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roihistoire naturelle
Buffon published thirty-six quarto volumes of his Histoire Naturelle during his lifetime; with additional volumes based on his notes and further research being published in the two decades following his death.
The Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi (French for Natural History, General and Particular, with a Description of the King's Cabinet) is an encyclopaedic collection of 36 large (quarto) volumes written between 1749–1804 by the Comte de Buffon, and continued in eight more volumes after his death by his colleagues, led by Bernard Germain de Lacépède.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

LamarckLam.Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
His works influenced the next two generations of naturalists, including Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Georges Cuvier.
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, one of the top French scientists of the day, mentored Lamarck, and helped him gain membership to the French Academy of Sciences in 1779 and a commission as a Royal Botanist in 1781, in which he traveled to foreign botanical gardens and museums.

Georges Cuvier

G. CuvierCuvierGeorges Cuvier
His works influenced the next two generations of naturalists, including Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Georges Cuvier.
He then began frequent visits to the home of a relative, where he could borrow volumes of the Comte de Buffon's massive Histoire Naturelle. All of these he read and reread, retaining so much of the information, that by the age of 12, "he was as familiar with quadrupeds and birds as a first-rate naturalist."

Buffon's needle

his needlehis needle problem
He first made his mark in the field of mathematics and, in his Sur le jeu de franc-carreau, introduced differential and integral calculus into probability theory; the problem of Buffon's needle in probability theory is named after him.
In mathematics, Buffon's needle problem is a question first posed in the 18th century by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon:

Augustin Pajou

PajouAugustin Pajou
Today, only Buffon's cerebellum remains, as it is kept in the base of the statue by Pajou that Louis XVI had commissioned in his honor in 1776, located at the Museum of Natural History in Paris.
Pajou's portrait busts of Buffon and of Madame du Barry (1773), and his statuette of Bossuet (all in the Louvre), are amongst his best works.


Georges Louis Leclerc (later Comte de Buffon) was born at Montbard, in the Province of Burgundy to Benjamin Francois Leclerc, a minor local official in charge of the salt tax and Anne-Christine Marlin also from a family of civil servants.
It was acquired by the naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, who was born in Montbard.

Age of the Earth

age of the Earthformation of the EarthEarth
He also suggested that the earth originated much earlier than 4004 BC, the date determined by Archbishop James Ussher.
In 1779 the Comte du Buffon tried to obtain a value for the age of Earth using an experiment: He created a small globe that resembled Earth in composition and then measured its rate of cooling.

Suzanne Curchod

Suzanne NeckerMadame NeckerMme. Necker
His heart was initially saved, as it was guarded by Suzanne Necker (wife of Jacques Necker), but was later lost.
Among the regular visitors were Jean-François Marmontel, Jean-François de La Harpe, the Comte de Buffon, the Baron von Grimm, Gabriel Bonnot de Mably, Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Antoine Léonard Thomas, and the compilers of the Encyclopédie including Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert.


This is considered to be the first principle of biogeography.
Closely after Linnaeus, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon observed shifts in climate and how species spread across the globe as a result.

On the Origin of Species

Origin of SpeciesOn the Origin of SpeciesThe Origin of Species
Charles Darwin wrote in his preliminary historical sketch added to the third edition of On the Origin of Species: "Passing over... Buffon, with whose writings I am not familiar".
In 1766, Georges Buffon suggested that some similar species, such as horses and asses, or lions, tigers, and leopards, might be varieties descended from a common ancestor.

Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton

DaubentonLouis DaubentonLouis Jean-Marie D’Aubenton (1716-1799)
Those who assisted him in the production of this great work included Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton, Philibert Guéneau de Montbeillard, and Gabriel-Léopold Bexon, along with numerous artists.
At about this time, Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, also a native of Montbard, was preparing to bring out a multi-volume work on natural history, the Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, and in 1742 he invited Daubenton to assist him by providing anatomical descriptions.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

RousseauJean-Jacques RousseauRousseauist
Buffon's Histoire naturelle was translated into many different languages, making him one of the most widely read authors of the day, a rival to Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire.
In fact, Rousseau's natural man is virtually identical to a solitary chimpanzee or other ape, such as the orangutan as described by Buffon; and the "natural" goodness of humanity is thus the goodness of an animal, which is neither good nor bad.

Struggle for existence

struggle for existenceStruggle for SurvivalThe struggle for existence
Buffon wrote about the concept of struggle for existence.
Population increase causing the struggle for existence was given numerical expression by Buffon in 1751.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach

BlumenbachJohann Friedrich BlumenbachJ. F. Blumenbach
Buffon and Johann Blumenbach were believers in monogenism, the concept that all races have a single origin.
Like other monogenists such as Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, Blumenbach held to the "degenerative hypothesis" of racial origins.


He developed a system of heredity which was similar to Darwin's hypothesis of pangenesis.
In 1749, French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon developed a hypothetical system of heredity much like Darwin's pangenesis, wherein 'organic molecules' were transferred to offspring during reproduction and stored in the body during development.

James Burnett, Lord Monboddo

Lord MonboddoMonboddoJames Burnett
He debated with James Burnett, Lord Monboddo on the relationship of the primates to man, Monboddo insisting, against Buffon, on a close relationship.
Monboddo debated with Buffon regarding man's relationship to other primates.

Jardin des plantes

Jardin du RoiBotanical GardensJardin des Plantes
Buffon held the position of intendant (director) at the Jardin du Roi, now called the Jardin des Plantes.
The Comte de Buffon became the curator in 1739 and he expanded the gardens greatly, adding a maze, the labyrinth, which remains today.

Nicolas Desmarest

Nicolas DesmarestDesmarest, NicolasDesmarest
Buffon's Theory of the Earth interested him, and in 1753 he successfully competed for a prize by writing an essay on the ancient connection between England and France.


In the opening volumes of the Histoire naturelle Buffon questioned the usefulness of mathematics, criticized Carl Linnaeus's taxonomical approach to natural history, outlined a history of the Earth with little relation to the Biblical account, and proposed a theory of reproduction that ran counter to the prevailing theory of pre-existence.
Buffon and Pierre Louis Moreau also advocated theories to explain this phenomenon.

Degeneration theory

degenerationdegeneration theorydegenerate
They both said that Adam and Eve were Caucasian and that other races came about by degeneration from environmental factors, such as the sun and poor diet.
The earliest uses of the term degeneration can be found in the writings of Blumenbach and Buffon at the end of the 18th century, when these early writers on natural history considered scientific approaches to the human species.

French Academy of Sciences

Académie des sciencesAcademy of SciencesRoyal Academy of Sciences
In 1734 he was admitted to the French Academy of Sciences.


The Age of Enlightenment was marked by the work of biologist Buffon and chemist Lavoisier, who discovered the role of oxygen in combustion, while Diderot and D'Alembert published the Encyclopédie, which aimed to give access to "useful knowledge" to the people, a knowledge that they can apply to their everyday life.


Buffon and Johann Blumenbach were believers in monogenism, the concept that all races have a single origin.
The interfertility of human races was debated, applying to human speciation arguments advanced already by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.