Exploration: The Globe and Beyond
The 19th century casts a long shadow over the early history of extinction. Before Georges Cuvier (d. 1832), it is widely assumed, the concept of species-extinction did not exist. In this talk, Schneider will shed light on the first traces of extinction as an idea. Rewinding the clock to the late 1660s and subsequent decades, he will lay out exactly how and why extinction was first proposed, focusing on the ways in which naturalists used fossil evidence to either support or challenge the idea. Extinction did not emerge as the consensus, but nonetheless the concept was formed by the end of the 17th century.