C. Loring Brace

C. Loring Brace

C. Loring Brace (born 1930) is an anthropologist at the University of Michigan. He considers the attempt "to introduce a Darwinian outlook into biological anthropology" to be his greatest contribution to the field of anthropology. [http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/biography/abcde/brace_c_loring.html]

Life and work

Charles Loring Brace IV was born in Hanover, New Hampshire in 1930, and his ancestors included generations of New England schoolteachers and clergymen. Brace's paternal great-grandfather had worked to introduce evolution theory to America and had even corresponded with Charles Darwin. Brace developed an early interest in biology and human evolution as a child in part by reading Roy Chapman Andrews's popular book "Meet Your Ancestors" (1945). He entered Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, but the college did not offer a degree in anthropology, so Brace constructed his own major from geology, paleontology, and biology courses.

Brace entered Harvard University in 1952 and studied physical anthropology with Ernest Hooton and later with William Howells, who introduced Brace to the new evolutionary synthesis of Darwinian evolution and population genetics. During this time he was also able to travel to Europe where he spent 1959-1960 at Oxford University, in the animal behavior laboratory of Niko Tinbergen, and traveled to Zagreb, Yugoslavia, where he inspected the collection of Neanderthal fossils collected by Dragutin Gorjanovic-Kramberger at Krapina.

Brace completed his Ph.D. in 1962. He taught briefly at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and then at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has spent much of his career as Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and as Curator of Biological Anthropology at the university's Museum of Anthropology.

Neanderthal controversy

In 1962, Brace published a paper in "American Anthropologist" titled "Refocusing on the Neanderthal Problem" where he argued, in opposition to French anthropologist Henri Vallois, that the archeological and fossil evidence did not necessarily support the idea that the Neanderthals were replaced by Cro-Magnon populations migrating into Europe, rather than being ancestral to early "Homo sapiens".

Brace continued his reappraisal of the Neanderthal problem in 1964 in "The Fate of the 'Classic' Neanderthals: a consideration of hominid catastrophism" published in "Current Anthropology". Here Brace traced the history of research on the Neanderthals in order to show how interpretations established early in the century by Marcellin Boule and notions such as Arthur Keith's pre-sapiens theory had convinced many anthropologists that the Neanderthals played little or no role in the evolution of modern humans. Brace argued that cultural factors, especially the increased use of tools by Neanderthals, produced morphological changes that led the classic Neanderthals to evolve into modern humans.

Brace has remained a vigorous proponent of the idea that Neanderthals are ancestral to modern humans. He also argued that the fossil record suggests a simple evolutionary scheme whereby humans have evolved through four stages (Australopithecine, Pithecanthropine, Neanderthal, and Modern humans), and that these stages are somewhat arbitrary and reflect our limited knowledge of the fossil record. Brace has emphasized the need to integrate the ideas of Darwinian evolution into palaeoanthropology. Much earlier research into human origins relied on non-Darwinian models of evolution; Brace's presented his advocacy of the Darwinian appraoch in "The Stages Of Human Evolution", first published in 1967.

Brace's ideas have generated considerable controversy, as much for his brash criticism of his colleagues as for their content, but they have also influenced a generation of anthropological research into human evolution and the interpretation of the Neanderthals.

Past PhD Students(Alphabetical order)

*Patricia S. Bridges (1985)
*Dean Falk (1976)
*Sonia E. Guillen (1992)
*Margaret E. Hamilton (1975)
*Robert J. Hinton (1979)
*Kevin D. Hunt (1989)
*Carol J. Lauer (1976)
*Paul E. Mahler (1973)
*Stephen Molnar (1968)
*A. Russell Nelson (1998)
*Conrad B. Quintyn (1999)
*Karen R. Rosenberg (1986)
*Alan S. Ryan (1980)
*Margaret J. Schoeninger (1980)
*Noriko Seguchi (2000)
*B. Holly Smith (1983)
*Frank Spencer (1979)
*Kenneth M. Weiss (1972)
*Richard G. Wilkinson (1970)
*Lucia Allen Yaroch (1994)


* [http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/information/biography/abcde/brace_c_loring.html C. Loring Brace] - by Erin Potter

External links

* [http://www.lsa.umich.edu/UofM/Content/umma/document/Bracepub.pdf List of Publications by C. Loring Brace] - (PDF)
* [http://www.americanscientist.org/template/BookReviewTypeDetail/assetid/14354;jsessionid=baa7dvhhM6gjX6 "Debunking Biological Theories of Race"] - by C. Loring Brace
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/first/brace.html "Does Race Exist? An antagonist's perspective"] - by C. Loring Brace
* [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/brace.html "Creationists and the Pithecanthropines"] - by C. Loring Brace
* [http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/mckee.html Review of Jeffrey McKee's "The Riddled Chain"] - by C. Loring Brace
* [http://human-nature.com/nibbs/02/brace.html Review of Ian Tattersall's "The Monkey in the Mirror"] - by C. Loring Brace
* [http://calbears.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3659/is_200102/ai_n8933683/print Review of Benno Miiller-Hill's "Murderous Science"] - by C. Loring Brace
* [http://multiracial.com/site/content/view/134/39/ "A Four-Letter Word Called "Race"] - by C. Loring Brace

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