Weidenreich, Franz, 1873-1948

Franz Weidenreich was a German-born anthropologist who became a research associate in the Dept. of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History.

Weidenreich studied zoology and medicine, receiving his medical degree from the University of Strasbourg in 1899 and becoming professor of anatomy. His scholarly work focused on human blood and the lymph system, but his interests broadened as he explored the connections of hematology with other human systems: first osteology, in which he published several works on dentition, and an influential paper on the evolution of the human foot; then physical anthropology and eventually, human evolution and the search for human origins. Forced out of Germany by the Nazis, Weidenreich became a visiting professor of anatomy and anthropology at the University of Chicago. In 1935, Weidenreich went to China, where he continued the work of Davidson Black in excavating the remains of Peking man. Under his direction, a series of skulls was exhumed for study. In 1941, after the Japanese invasion of China, Weidenreich came to the AMNH. He left unfinished his work on Java man, the series of fossil skulls discovered by G.H.R. von Koenigswald.


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