Contexte historique de la collection Félix de Roissy (1771-1843) de reptiles marins jurassiques des Vaches Noires


fr Geodiversitas 40 (2) - Pages 43-68

Published on 30 January 2018

Historical context of Félix de Roissy (1771-1843)'s collection of marine reptiles from the Jurassic of Vaches Noires

Félix de Roissy’s collection is one of the very few historical collections of Jurassic reptiles from Normandy put together during the first half of the nineteenth century, still preserved today. This article presents the biography of this Parisian whose family history is closely linked to Villers-sur-Mer. His frequent visits to his cousin and his daughter, the wife of Raoul Pâris d’Illins, mayor of this town, offered him the opportunity to gather many fossils from the Vaches Noires cliffs, including remains of marine reptiles (Ichthyosauria, Plesiosauria, Thallatosuchia). A few specimens were offered to the Muséum d’Histoire naturelle (Paris) by Félix de Roissy, and after his death, by his widow, Anne Marie de Roissy, née d’Outremont. The rest of the de Roissy’s collection was finally bought by the French Government on behalf of the Museum in 1847. The de Roissy’s collection of Jurassic reptiles from the Vaches Noire, still kept in the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris), is particularly noteworthy. Some of these marine reptile remains were studied by the famous anatomist Henri Marie Ducrotay Blainville with whom Félix de Roissy had close friendship. In the 1860s, some of these specimens, including the lectotypes of Metriorhynchus superciliosus (Blainville in J.-A. Eudes-Deslongchamps, 1852) and Steneosaurus edwardsi E. Eudes-Deslongchamps, 1868, were also studied and described by Eugène Eudes-Deslongchamps.


History of palaeontology, Thalattosuchia, Ichthyosauria, Plesiosauria, Jurassic, Vaches Noires cliffs, Normandy

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