Arthur Keith ~ Curator, Anthropologist, and Anatomist

“Sir Arthur was a Physical Anthropologist and an Anatomist. He was an excellent teacher and inspired many of his students. He is best known for his work on fossilised humanoid forms and as being a protégé of Charles Darwin. He was born on February 5, 1866 to John Keith and Jessie MacPherson. In 1888, he received a Bachelor of Medicine Degree from the University of Aberdeen, then traveled as a physician on a gold mining trip to Siam (He qualified and worked for a while at the Murray Asylum in Perth before taking up the offer of a job in Siam (Thailand) as doctor to a mining company – with conditions attached – to collect botanical specimens for Kew Gardens). There, he dissected monkeys and became interested in racial types. In 1892, he returned to Britain and studied anatomy. In 1893, he won the first Struthers Prize at Aberdeen. In 1894, he became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. In 1895, he was appointed Senior Demonstrator of Anatomy at the London Hospital and in 1899, he became head of the department. He also studied primate skulls and published An Introduction to the Study of Anthropoid Apes in 1897 and in 1900 he married Celia Gray. In 1902, his work Human Embryology and Morphology was published. In 1908, he resigned from the hospital and became the Conservator of the Royal College of Surgeons Museum. He thought that curators should make the resources of their museums available to researchers. In 1911, he published Ancient Types of Man, in which he said that moderns humans are as old as extinct forms of humans. In 1915, he published The Antiquity of Man, which basically had the same theme, and was an anatomical survey of all important human fossil remains. He was knighted in 1921. In 1931, New Discoveries was published in which he admitted that modern humans probably arose from types already separate in the early Pleistocene. In 1932, he helped found a research institute at Downe, where Charles Darwin once lived, and was appointed Master of the Institute in 1933, where he worked until his death on January 7, 1955 at the age of 88. “