Alexander Ecker

Born 1816
Died 1887

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German anatomist, born July 10, 1816, Freiburg; died May 20, 1887, Freiburg.

Biography of Alexander Ecker

Alexander Ecker was the son of Johann Mathias Alexander Ecker (1766-1829), professor of surgery at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau. He first studied in Freiburg, but changed to Heidelberg. In Freiburg, Karl Heinrich Baumgärtner (1798-1886) and Karl Joseph Beck (1783-1938) were among his teacher; in Heidelberg he was influenced by Friedrich Tiedemann (1781-1861), Theodor Ludwig Wilhelm Bischoff (1807-1882), Maximilian Joseph von Chelius (1794-1876), Friedrich August Benjamin Puchelt (1784-1856), and Franz Karl Nägele (1778-1851).

Ecker was conferred doctor of medicine in Freiburg in 1837 and was habilitated two years later. He became prosector in Heidelberg in 1840, and Privatdozent in 1841. In 1844 he became full professor of anatomy and physiology in Basel, and in 1850 he assumed the chair of physiology and comparative anatomy in Freiburg in Baden. He remained there until his death in 1887. In 1870 he was one of the founders of the Akademische Gesellschaft.

Ecker was an arduous and conscientious researcher. He studied the development of cerebral convolutions in the foetus, and is the originator of the terminology still used for brain lobes and convolutions, suggested in a monograph in 1869.

He also distinguished himself in his research on anthropology in South-West Germany - establishing the typical form of the «Reihengräber», and made exact measurements of skulls.

Ecker published extensively in Archiv für physiologische Heilkunde, Zeitschrift für rationelle Medicin, Archiv für Anatomie, Physiologie und wissenschaftliche Medicin (Müller’s Archiv), and in the Berichte der naturforschenden Gesellschaften in Basel and Freiburg. From 1865 Ecker was the editor of the Archiv für Anthropologie, contributing numerous papers to the 15 volumes he edited.

Alexander Ecker founded the "Museum für Urgeschichte und Ethnographie" at the University of Freiburg. With the historian Ludwig Lindenschmit (1809.1893), he founded the first German anthropological Journal, Archiv für Anthropologie, Braunschweig 1866-1943.

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