Sir Arthur Keith

QUESTION: Who was Sir Arthur Keith?


Sir Arthur Keith was the son of a farmer. He was not very scholarly as a child, yet showed promise in the field of medicine. He went on to college, receiving degrees in medicine, science and law. Sir Arthur Keith was born in 1866, and passed away in 1955.

During his college tenor, Sir Arthur Keith was given Darwin’s prize on Origin of Species for his work in anthropology. Next, Sir Arthur Keith served in a dual role as a physician and a plant collector at a gold camp. While working at the gold camp, he survived an outbreak of malaria. After this experience, Sir Arthur Keith developed an interest in monkeys and apes.

Sir Arthur Keith was very successful throughout his career. He was very accomplished and received many accolades. He realized his gift as a teacher, and was very persuasive. He served in several different roles in his career and in society. His career roles include a demonstrator of Anthropology at the London Hospital; he later served as a curator of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Sir Arthur Keith studied the human anatomy, as this was apparently most fascinating for him. He wrote in excess of 500 publications regarding this subject on human anatomy, evolution, etc. Perhaps Sir Arthur Keith was most noted for his support of Darwin’s theory of man’s evolution. He was an agnostic when it came to spiritual beliefs and morality. He wrote a book, “Human Embryology and Morphology,” which would be the standard text of that era.

Sir Arthur Keith was intellectual, scholarly, and enjoyed the work he did. He was married for a number of years until his wife’s passing. He was known as an expert on human remains, having developed various means of identification of those remains.

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