Alcide d’Orbigny

1802 (Couëron, France) – 1857 (Pierrefitte-sur-Seine)

Despite d’Orbigny’s obsolete ideas (including that there had been 28 creations of life, and 27 total extinctions), much of his detailed work has had continued relevance. Audubon was a childhood friend in France (d’Orbigny’s father gave him drawing lessons). Cuvier and Geoffroy taught him, and were responsible for the seven-year South American expedition he undertook (Cuvier died while he was away). Humboldt, met in Paris (and whose colleague Bonpland was a family friend of the d’Orbigny’s), correctly asserted that the funds for the expedition wouldn’t be enough. Darwin corresponded though never met him, and thought his work second only to Humboldt’s.