A new era
“The dramatic enlargement of time and the new perception of the evolutionary character of the earth was the most important scientific advance of the 19th century”.
— Atlantic Monthly, 19th century
Many discoveries took place during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while the ideas of the Enlightenment were spreading throughout Europe. The scientific progress in that period relies on new and diverse knowledge, such as the description of the planetary orbits, the topography of the moon, the discovery of blood circulation, as well as the invention of the first microscope, with a lens that magnified up to 40 times the size of objects.
In Brazil, the findings of extinct animals, which were mostly a result of the work of Danish paleontologist Peter Lund, were an exciting experience. They provided people with the possibility of escaping to other worlds, of getting to know the past and the exotic. But these discoveries were also an evidence of man’s insignificance amid the grandiosity of the natural universe.