Anders Adolph Retzius (
Lund 13 October 1796 –
April 1860), was a Swedish professor of anatomy and a supervisor at
Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
He enrolled at
Lund University in 1812 where he studied medicine, and
alternated with studies in Copenhagen, until he in 1818 became a
licensed doctor of medicine. Through his friendship with Jöns Jakob
Berzelius, he as early as 1824 was appointed temporary professor of
anatomy at the Karolinska Institute, an institute to which he
dedicated much of his strength for many years. In 1830 he was also
appointed temporary supervisor there, and in 1840 he was appointed
both permanent professor and supervisor.
During the next decades he made many anatomical discoveries, for
instance about the finer parts of the teeth, of the skull, of the
muscles and of the nervous system. He was also an anthropologist,
whose studies of the human cranium led to the classifications
dolichocephalic and brachycephalic. He was considered to be very
knowledgeable and was elected into many of the scientific academies at
the time. He is credited with defining the cephalic index, which is
the ratio of width to length of one's head.
Retzius was a polygenist. Retzius studied many different skull types
from different races, because the skulls were so different from each
race he believed that the races had a separate origin.
The retropubic space of Retzius is named after him. The peritoneum
lies deep to the posterior layer of transversalis fascia and is very
adherent to it. Distally, this close contact remains in the area
lateral to the epigastrics. Medially, however, the peritoneum reflects
on the roof of the bladder and runs sharply dorsally, away from the
deep layer of transversalis fascia. The separation of transversalis
fascia and peritoneum contains loose fatty tissue allowing for the
filling of the bladder. This space is called the retropubic space of
Retzius (from the Clinic of Digestive Surgery, University Hospital
Retzius also engaged himself in the battle against the Swedish
drinking habits – which at this time had a significant impact
on the Swedish society – with works on the harmful effects
liquor has on the body.
In 1826, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of
Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography
Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography previously awarded
Anders Retzius Medal in Gold to world-leading scholars in human
geography and anthropology. In 2015, the Society decided that it was
inappropriate to award a medal in Retzius's name considering his
contributions to phrenology.
He was the father of Gustaf Retzius.
Striae of Retzius
^ Peter Rowley-Conwy, From Genesis to Prehistory: The Archaeological
Three Age System and its Contested Reception in Denmark, Britain, and
Ireland, 2007, p. 120
^ af Kleen, Björn (7 March 2015). "Stopp för medalj till
rasforskarens minne". Dagens Nyheter. Stockholm.
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This article contains content from the Owl Edition of Nordisk
familjebok, a Swedish encyclopedia published between 1904 and 1926,
now in the public domain.