Auteur : Erik Nordenskjöld, Biologins Historia (1920-1924), tr. angl. Leonard Bucknall Byre, The History of biology. A Survey, Tudor Publishing Co., 1928.
Date et contexte : 1928
Extrait : Chapitre VIII. Buffon.
« Buffon has played a fundamental part in the history of biology, not on account of the discoveries he made, but on account of the new ideas he produced. Those ideas that he brought out, which he was able only imperfectly to realize in detail, have since then been taken up by others, who, having better opportunities for obtaining actual scientific material, have applied them in a wider sense. » 228. (Cuvier, Bichat, ont adopté des idées de Buffon et les ont développées).
Buffon fut souvent méprisé, en particulier hors de France, par les Linnéens, « who, for a long time, felt that they were the sole upholders of a truly exact natural science, looked compassionately down upon Buffon’s unsystematic descriptions and imaginative speculations. When, then, the dominion of Linnaeanism fell, the comparative and speculative lines of research which succeeded it already possessed entirely different material to build upon, and Buffon’s theories thereafter necessarily appeared vague and childish. His services, however, must in all fairness be duly acknowledged. »
« In the purely theoretical sphere, he was the foremost biologist of the eighteenth century, the one who possessed the greatest wealth of ideas, of real benefit to subsequent ages and exerting an influence stretching far into the future. » 229.