The ‘creationism’ of Alcide d'Orbigny and the basis of the biostratigraphical theory

Jean-Claude FISCHER & Marie-Thérèse VÉNEC-PEYRÉ

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 1 (6) - Pages 359-364

Published on 31 December 2002

This article is a part of the thematic issue International symposium – Tribute to Alcide d'Orbigny – Muséum, Paris, 1st to 5th July 2002 – Part I

D’Orbigny was more interested in the discontinuities of life history than in the origin of species. He looked for reference points to correlate geological strata and to reconstruct their history. This allowed him to formalise the concept of stratigraphic stage and to propose the first geological time scale. Therefore, one of the results was that he was unjustly considered as one of the leaders of the creationism school, because he used the ambiguous term ‘creation’ to designate the renewal of fauna after catastrophic events, but without providing a definition and with a meaning that was probably different from those of his successors.


d’Orbigny, biostratigraphy, catastrophism

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