Tiedemann in 1820
23 August 1781|
(now Kassel, Hesse, Germany)
|Died||22 January 1861
|Academic advisors||Georges Cuvier
Tiedemann spent most of his life as professor of anatomy and physiology at Heidelberg, a position to which he was appointed in 1816, after having filled the chair of anatomy and zoology for ten years at Landshut, and died at Munich. He was elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1827.
Early life and education
Tiedemann was born at Cassel, the eldest son of Dietrich Tiedemann (1748–1803), a philosopher and psychologist of considerable repute. He graduated in medicine at Marburg in 1804, but soon abandoned practice.
Tiedemann devoted himself to the study of natural science, and, upon moving to Paris, France, became an ardent follower of Georges Cuvier. On his return to Germany he maintained the claims of patient and sober anatomical research against the prevalent speculations of the school of Lorenz Oken, whose foremost antagonist he was long reckoned. His remarkable studies of the development of the human brain, as correlated with his father's studies on the development of intelligence, deserve mention.
Tiedemann was one of the first persons to make a scientific contestation of racism, in his article entitled "On the Brain of the Negro, compared with that of the European and the Orang-outang" (1836) he argued based on craniometric and brain measures taken by him from Europeans and black men from different parts of the world that the then-common European belief that Negroes have smaller brains and are thus intellectually inferior is scientifically unfounded and based merely on the prejudice of travelers and explorers.
In 2007, Brazilian geneticist Sergio Pena called Tiedemann an "anti-racist ahead of his time".
- Chisholm 1911.
- Tiedemann, Friedrich (1836). "On the Brain of the Negro, compared with that of the european and the orang-outang". Phil. Trans 126.
- Pena, Sergio (2007). "Um anti-racista à frente de seu tempo". Ciencia Hoje. Instituto Ciencia Hoje. Retrieved April 6, 2013. "Um anti-racista à frente de seu tempo"