1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Quatrefages de Bréau, Jean Louis Armand de

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 22
Quatrefages de Bréau, Jean Louis Armand de

QUATREFAGES DE BRÉAU, JEAN LOUIS ARMAND DE (1810–1892), French naturalist, was born at Berthezène, near Vallerangue (Gard), on the 10th of February 1810, the son of a Protestant farmer. He studied medicine at Strassburg, where he took the double degree of M.D. and D.Sc., one of his theses being a Théorie d'un coup de canon (November 1829); next year he published a book, Sur les aérolithes, and in 1832 a treatise on L'Extraversion de la vessie. Removing to Toulouse, he practised medicine for a short time, and contributed various memoirs to the local Journal de médecine and to the Annales des sciences naturelles (1834º36). But being unable to continue his researches in the provinces, he resigned the chair of zoology to which he had been appointed, and in 1839 settled in Paris, where he found in H. Milne-Edwards a patron and a friend. Elected professor of natural history at the Lycée Napoléon in 18 50, he 'became a member of the Academy of Sciences in 1852, and in 1855 was called to the chair of anthropology and ethnography at the Musée d'histoire naturelle. Other distinctions followed rapidly, and continued to the end of his otherwise uneventful career, the more important being honorary member of the Royal Society of London (June 1879), member of the Institute and of the Académie de médecine, and commander of the Legion of Honour (1881). He died in Paris on the 12th of January 1892. He was an accurate observer and unwearied collector of zoological materials, gifted with remarkable descriptive power, and possessed of a clear, vigorous style, but somewhat deficient in deep philosophic insight. Hence his serious studies on the anatomical characters of the lower and higher organisms, man included, will retain their value, while many of his theories and generalizations, especially in the department of ethnology, are already forgotten.

The work of de Quatrefages ranged over the whole field of zoology from the annelids and other low organisms to the anthropoids and man. Of his numerous essays in scientific periodicals, the. more important were: Considérations sur les caractères zoologiques des rongeurs (1840); “ De l'organisation des animaux sans vertèbres des Còtes de la Manche ” (Ann. Sc. Nat., 1844); “ Recherches sur le système nerveux, l'embryogénie, les organs des sens, et la circulation des annélides " (lbid., 1844–50); “ Sur les affinités et les analogies des lombrics et des sangsues " (lbid.); “ Sur l'histoire naturelle des tarets " (lbid., 1848-49). Then there is the vast series issued under the general title of “ Études sur les types inférieurs de l'embranchement des annelés," and the results of several scientific expeditions to the Atlantic and Mediterranean coast lands, Italy and Sicily, forming a series of articles in the Revue des deux mondes, or embodied in the Souvenirs d'un naturaliste (2 vols., 1854). These were followed in quick succession by the Physiologie comparée, metarnorphoses de l'homme et des animaux (1862); Les Polynésiens et leurs migrations (1866); Histoire naturelle des annelés marins et de l'eau douce (2 vols., 1866); La Rochelle et ses environs (1866); Rapport sur les progrès de l'anthropologie (1867); Ch. Darwin et ses précurseurs français (1870), a study of evolution in which the writer takes somewhat the same attitude as A. R. Wallace, combating the Darwinian doctrine in its application to man; La Race prussienne (1871); Crania Ethnica, jointly with Dr Hamy (2 vols., with 100 plates, 1875–82), a classical work based on French and foreign anthropological data, analogous to the Crania Britannica of Thurnam and Davis, and to S. G. Morton's Crania Americana and Crania Aegyptiaca; L'Espèce humaine (1877); Nouvelles Études sur la distribution géographique des négritos (1882); Hommes fossiles et hommes sauvages (1884); and Histoire générale des races humaines (2 vols., 1886–89), the first volume being introductory, while the second attempts a complete classification of mankind.