Wu Dingliang bigraphy, stories - Chinese anthropologist

Wu Dingliang : biography

1893 - 24 March 1969

Wu Dingliang (January 1893 - 24 March 1969) (Chinese:吴定良;Woo Ting-Liang), pioneering Chinese anthropologist and educator. He can be rightfully considered the father of Chinese physical anthropology.


Dingliang was educated in Britain during 1920s and came back to China after he obtained doctor's degree in anthropology. He continued his work in Academia Sinica as the director and researcher of the Group of Anthropology in the Institute of History and Language. His research concentrated on somatometry, description of biological variation of ethnic minorities in China. He collected morphological measurements and described physical characteristics of living people in different parts of China. He also prepared the foundation of Institute of Physical Anthropology. He published more than 10 papers on physical anthropology, for example, in 1942, he published "the Physical Characteristics of Miao in South China" in "Journal of Anthropology" edited by Britain Royal Society. Moreover, Wu Dingliang set up and edited "Renleixue Jikan"(Communication on Anthropology).

In 1941, Wu published the paper "Somatometry of Chinese in the Plain of North China" (including 190 indexes of somatometry) in Vol.2 of "Communication on Anthropology". In Sept.of 1947, the Department of Anthropology and the Institute of Anthropology were set up at Zhejiang University, Wu Dingliang assumed the dean of the department and the chief of the institute. Wu Dingliang educated many students that became prominent scholars of physical anthropology. Among them are Zhang Yinyun and Han Kangxin. In the period from 1946 to 1948, he also worked as part-time professor in the department of anthropology at Jinan University in Shanghai. In 1948,Wu Dingliang was elected as academician of Academia Sinica.

He suffered from Cultural Revolution and died in 1969.

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