Blumenbach, Johann Friedrich

Blumenbach, Johann Friedrich yōhän´ frē´drĭkh blo͞o´mənbäkh [key], 1752–1840, German naturalist and anthropologist. He introduced and developed the science of comparative anatomy in Germany. His De generis humani varietate nativa (1775 tr. On the Natural Varieties of Mankind, 1865, repr. 1969) marked the beginnings of physical anthropology and described the five divisions of mankind which have been the basis of all subsequent racial classifications. Blumenbach's analysis of an extensive skull collection, published as Collectio craniorum diversarum gentium (1790–1828), established craniometric study. English translations of his works include The Anthropological Treatises of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1865, repr. 1969).

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