The manuscript of the Cours de Paléontologie that Alcide d’Orbigny taught in the years 1854 and 1855 in the French National Museum of Natural History has been examined. As expected, its comparison with the Cours élémentaire de Paléontologie et de Géologie stratigraphiques, published several years earlier (1849–1852), exhibits important similarities between them. Nevertheless, Alcide d’Orbigny introduced new developments in his lectures. First, he developed, in his inaugural lesson, his view of the history of the beginnings of Stratigraphy. Second, he had the opportunity to report with more details on his own ‘actualist’ observations, mainly made during his youth along the Atlantic coast of France.
palaeontology, history, France, stratigraphy, actualism, catastrophism, creationism