1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Blumenbach, Johann Friedrich

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BLUMENBACH, JOHANN FRIEDRICH (1752–1840), German physiologist and anthropologist, was born at Gotha on the 11th of May 1752. After studying medicine at Jena, he graduated doctor at Göttingen in 1775, and was appointed extraordinary professor of medicine in 1776 and ordinary professor in 1778. He died at Göttingen on the 22nd of January 1840. He was the author of Institutiones Physiologicae (1787), and of a Handbuch der vergleichenden Anatomie (1804), both of which were very popular and went through many editions, but he is best known for his work in connexion with anthropology, of which science he has been justly called the founder. He was the first to show the value of comparative anatomy in the study of man’s history, and his craniometrical researches justified his division of the human race into several great varieties or families, of which he enumerated five—the Caucasian or white race, the Mongolian or yellow, the Malayan or brown race, the Negro or black race, and the American or red race. This classification has been very generally received, and most later schemes have been modifications of it. His most important anthropological work was his description of sixty human crania published originally in fasciculi under the title Collectionis suae craniorum diversarum gentium illustratae decades (Göttingen, 1790–1828).