The French played a distinctive role in the many comparative anatomies of this era. Perrault and the Academy joined anatomy closely to natural history and did not assume uniformity in nature, unlike most mechanical philosophers. Ideas about animal mechanism were indeed diverse and eclectic, and LeClerc and Manget’s 1685 Bibliotheca anatomica included several variations on this theme. The Academy’s comparative anatomy also contributed to discussions of classification and the definition of species. Anatomy in seventeenth-century Paris formed part of a wider cultural milieu that intertwined intellectual and courtly activities, where ancient and modern ideas coexisted as well as clashed. The honnêtes hommes of the academies and salons of Paris mingled science, art, music, and literature as interdependent forms of knowledge.
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