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Born Oct. 23, 1800, in Bruges, Belgium; died July 29, 1885, in Paris. French zoologist. Became a member of the Paris Academy of Sciences in 1838.
Milne-Edwards was a student and follower of G. Cuvier. He became a professor at the Paris Museum of Natural History in 1841 and at the faculty of the natural sciences at the Sorbonne in 1843 (he later became the dean of the faculty). In 1864, Milne-Edwards was named director of the Museum of Natural History.
One of the pioneers in the study of the physiology of marine fauna, Milne-Edwards described in detail many coral polyps, mollusks, and crustaceans. In 1855 he proposed a classification of the animal world consisting of four types, comprising 24 classes. He was the first to establish the tunicates as an independent group, and he discovered vertical zonation in the distribution of marine fauna. Milne-Edwards advanced the principle of physiological division of labor and differentiation of organs and tissues. He was the author of a multivolume handbook of animal and human anatomy and physiology; he was aided in the preparation of this work by his son Alphonse (1835–1900). Milne-Edwards did not support the theory of evolution.
WORKSLeçons sur la physiologie et Vanatomie comparees de l’homme et des animaux, vols. 1–14. Paris, 1857–84.
Histoire naturelle des crustacés, vols. 1—4. Paris, 1834—40.