Pioneers of Physical Anthropology



Carl Frederik Larsen

A contemporary of Arbo, the Norwegian tuberculosis expert and corps physician Carl Frederik Larsen (1830-1909) made valuable contributions to the science of Physical Anthropology. While his research was not perhaps as wide reaching and original as that of Arbo, it nevertheless served to complete the latter's mission, in its anthropometric documentation of the central and northern Norwegian populations.

Larsen's work may be divided in two parts: a) the session measurings of the 1870's and -80's, and b) the anthropological works published after 1898, the year of his retirement. His works show a careful approach to all scientific research, and the author seldom makes philosophical observations to the extent that Arbo did. He also questions many of Arbo's suppositions as to the racial composition of the Norwegian population, and compares the Norwegian racial types with recognized varieties elsewhere in Europe.

In 1895, Larsen was initiated into Videnskabsselskabet (the Science Society), where he served as foreman of the anthropological committee. He was awarded the Voss Legacy in 1903 for his thesis "Norske Kranietyper" ("Norwegian Cranial Types"), and in 1905 he was knighted for his scientific efforts by the Order of St. Olav.