1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pictet de la Rive, François Jules

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PICTET DE LA RIVE, FRANÇOIS JULES (1809–1872), Swiss zoologist and palaeontologist, was born in Geneva on the 27th of September 1809. He graduated B. ès. Sc. at Geneva in 1829, and pursued his studies for a short time at Paris, where under the influence of Cuvier, de Blainville and others, he worked at natural history and comparative anatomy. On his return to Geneva in 1830 he assisted A. P. de Candolle by giving demonstrations in comparative anatomy. Five years later, when de Candolle retired, Pictet was appointed professor of zoology and comparative anatomy. In 1846 his duties were restricted to certain branches of zoology, including geology and palaeontology, and these he continued to teach until 1859, when he retired to devote his energies to the museum of natural history and to special palaeontological work. He was rector of the academy from 1847 to 1850, and again from 1866 to 1868. He was for many years a member of the Representative Council of Geneva, and in 1862 President of the Constituent Assembly. His earlier published work related chiefly to entomology, and included Recherches pour servir à l'histoire et à l'anatomie des Phryganides (1834) and two parts of Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, des insectes néuroptères (1842–1845). Feeling the want of a hand-book, he prepared his Traité élémentaire de paléontologie (4 vols. 1844–1846). In the first edition Pictet, while adopting the hypothesis of successive creations of species, admitted that some may have originated through the modification of pre-existing forms. In his second edition (1853–1857) he enters further into the probable transformation of some species, and discusses the independence of certain faunas, which did not appear to have originated from the types which locally preceded them. He now directed his attention to the fossils of his native country, more especially to those of the Cretaceous and Jurassic strata, and in 1854 he commenced the publication of his great work, Matériaux pour la paléontologie suisse, a series of quarto memoirs, of which six were published (1854–1873). In this work Pictet was aided by E Renevier, G. Campiche, P. de Loriol and others. Pictet also brought out Mélanges paléontologiques (1863–1868). He died at Geneva on the 15th of March 1872.

Obituary by W. S. Dallas, Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. (1873), vol. xxix.