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Camper, Peter

CAMPER, PETER (1722-1789), Dutch anatomist and naturalist, was born at Leiden on the 11th of May 1722. He was educated at the university there, and in 1746 graduated in philosophy and medicine. After the death of his father in 1748 he spent more than a year in England, and then visited Paris, Lyons and Geneva, and returned to Franeker, where in 1750 he had been appointed to the professorship of philosophy, medicine and surgery. He visited England a second time in 1752, and in 1755 he was called to the chair of anatomy and surgery at the Athenaeum in Amsterdam. He resigned this post after six years, and retired to his country house near Franeker, in order uninterruptedly to carry on his studies. In 1763, however, he accepted the professorship of medicine, surgery and anatomy at Groningen, and continued in the chair for ten years. He then returned to Franeker, and after the death of his wife in 1776 spent some time in travelling. In 1762 he had been returned as one of the deputies in the assembly of the province of Friesland, and the latter years of his life were much occupied with political affairs. In 1787 he was nominated to a seat in the council of state, and took up his residence at the Hague, where he died on the 7th of April 1789.

Camper's works, mainly memoirs and detached papers, are very numerous; the most important of those bearing on comparative anatomy were published in 3 vols. at Paris in 1803, under the title Oeuvres de P. Camper qui ont pour objet l'histoire naturelle, la physiologie, et l'anatomie comparée. His Dissertation physique sur les différences réelles que présentent les traits du visage chez les hommes de différents pays et de différents âges; sur le beau qui caractérise les statues antiques et les pièces gravées, etc., which was published in 1781 both in Dutch and in French, contains an account of the facial angle which he used as a cranial characteristic. (See also Anatomy.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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