Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopedic author. He epitomizes the revolutionary changes that the Enlightenment brought to the study of nature. 100 years before Darwin, Buffon published his Historie Naturelle (Natural History), a 44 volume encyclopedia describing everything known about the natural world, he wrestled with the similarities of humans and apes and even talked about common ancestry of Man and apes, but ultimately rejected the possibility of a common descent. His works influenced the next two generations of naturalists, including Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Georges Cuvier. He brought the idea of evolution into the realm of science. He developed a concept of the "unity of type", a precursor of comparative anatomy. More than anyone else, he was responsible for the acceptance of a long-time scale for the history of the earth. He died in 1788 at the age of 80.