Anthropology, of all branches of natural science, was the last to be developed; nevertheless it is one which now lays claim to hold the first place in the attention of the scientific world. For fifteen years this science, whose title even was not settled, had but few adherents. Since 1749, the date at which it was inaugurated by Buffon, there have been, in every generation, a certain number of learned men who have directed their attention to it, and among these have figured many distinguished anatomists and naturalists. But these men, devoted to studies whose utility was not as yet appreciated, formed, as it were, a staff without an army, and if they had a few select readers we may safely say they had not the public at large.
A new era manifested itself in 1859, in consequence of the foundation of the Societe d'Anthropologie de Paris.