Sometimes called the 'Russian Cuvier', Grigory Fischer von Waldheim was born in 1771 in Waldheim near Freiberg in Saxony and graduated in 1792 from the Freiberg Mining Academy, where he studied under Werner and became friends with von Buch and von Humboldt. In Paris, he studied under Cuvier and the two became friends. In Russia, Fischer became Director of the Moscow University Natural History Museum (1804-1832), founder of the Moscow Society of Naturalists at Moscow University (1805), Corresponding Member (1805) and Honorary Member (1819) of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, and Professor (later President) of the Moscow Medical-Surgical Academy (1837), where he established its Natural History Museum. He gave systematic descriptions of materials in the Paris National Natural History Museum (1802-1803) and Moscow University's Natural History Museum (1805-1806). Using binomial nomenclature, he published the first scientific descriptions of the fossil fauna of Russia (1809) and the first descriptions of the fossil flora from around Moscow (1826) and the southwestern Urals (1840). He also wrote the first Russian monograph on geology and palaeontology (Oryctography of the Province of Moscow, 1830-1837). In effect, he founded palaeontology in Russia. His achievements were recognized during his lifetime and are remembered today in Germany and Russia, but are rather little known in the Anglophone world.

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