Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville
Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville (12 September 1777 – 1 May 1850) was a French zoologist and anatomist.
Blainville was born at Arques
Arques-la-Bataille is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France.-Geography:Arques is situated near the confluence of the rivers Eaulne, Varenne and Béthune, with the forest of Arques to the north-east...
, near Dieppe
Dieppe is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in France. In 1999, the population of the whole Dieppe urban area was 81,419.A port on the English Channel, famous for its scallops, and with a regular ferry service from the Gare Maritime to Newhaven in England, Dieppe also has a popular pebbled...
. In about 1796 he went to Paris to study painting, but he ultimately devoted himself to natural history, and attracted the attention of Georges Cuvier
Georges Chrétien Léopold Dagobert Cuvier or Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier , known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist...
, for whom he occasionally lectured at the Collège de France
Collège de France
The Collège de France is a higher education and research establishment located in Paris, France, in the 5th arrondissement, or Latin Quarter, across the street from the historical campus of La Sorbonne at the intersection of Rue Saint-Jacques and Rue des Écoles...
and at the Athenaeum
Athenaeum Club, London
The Athenaeum Club, usually just referred to as the Athenaeum, is a notable London club with its Clubhouse located at 107 Pall Mall, London, England, at the corner of Waterloo Place....
. In 1812 he was aided by Cuvier to obtain the chair of anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...
in the Faculty of Sciences at Paris, but subsequently an estrangement grew up between the two men and ended in open enmity.
In 1825 Blainville was admitted a member of the French Academy of Sciences
French Academy of Sciences
The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research...
; and in 1830 he was appointed to succeed Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de la Marck , often known simply as Lamarck, was a French naturalist...
in the chair of natural history at the museum. Two years later, on the death of Cuvier, he obtained the chair of comparative anatomy, which he continued to occupy for the space of eighteen years, proving himself no unworthy successor to his great teacher. In 1837, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences or Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden. The Academy is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which acts to promote the sciences, primarily the natural sciences and mathematics.The Academy was founded on 2...
. He was found dead in a railway carriage while travelling between Rouen
Rouen , in northern France on the River Seine, is the capital of the Haute-Normandie region and the historic capital city of Normandy. Once one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe , it was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy in the Middle Ages...
Caen is a commune in northwestern France. It is the prefecture of the Calvados department and the capital of the Basse-Normandie region. It is located inland from the English Channel....
Besides many separate memoirs, he was the author of Prodrome d'une nouvelle distribution du règne animal (1816); Ostéographie ou description iconographique comparée du squelette et du système dentaire des mammifères récents et fossiles (1839–64); Faune française (1821–30); Cours de physiologie générale et comparée (1833); Manuel de malacologie et de conchyliologie (1825-7); Histoire des sciences de l'organisme (1845).
Blainville made valuable contributions to the scientific field of herpetology
Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians and reptiles...
. In his 1816 work he elevated Amphibia and Reptilia to the rank of separate classes. He also described several new species of reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...