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What we owe to the self-taught genius Carl Linnaeus

Bumptious, uncouth and the despair of his schoolmasters, Linnaeus died almost forgotten. Yet he established a system of taxonomy that we still use two centuries later

13 April 2024

9:00 AM

13 April 2024

9:00 AM

Every Living Thing: The Great and Deadly Race to Know All Life Jason Roberts

Riverrun, pp.448, 30

Carl Linnaeus and Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon were both taxonomists, born in the same year (1707), but apart from that they had little in common and never met. Buffon was French, Linnaeus Swedish. Buffon was suave, elegant, tall and handsome (Voltaire said he had ‘the body of an athlete and the soul of a sage’), whereas Linnaeus was a bumptious little man (under 5ft), who was widely regarded as uncouth.

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