Yang Zhongjian (Chinese: 杨钟健; 1 June 1897 – 15 January 1979), courtesy name Keqiang (克强), also known as C.C. (Chung Chien) Young, was one of China's foremost vertebrate paleontologists. He has been called the 'Father of Chinese Vertebrate Paleontology'. He was born in Huaxian, Shaanxi province.


Yang was born in Huaxian, Shaanxi. He graduated from the Department of Geology at Peking University in 1923 and in 1927 received his doctorate from Munich University, in Germany. In 1928 he worked for the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Geological Survey of China and took charge of excavations at the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian.[1]

He held professorial posts at the Geological Survey of China, Peking University, and Northwest University in Xi'an. Yang's scientific work was instrumental in the creation of China's Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, which today houses one of the most important collections of fossil vertebrates in the world. He was director of both the IVPP and the Beijing Natural History Museum.

He supervised the collection of fossil remains of and research on dinosaurs in China from 1933 until the 1970s. He presided over some of the most important fossil discoveries in history, such as those of the prosauropods, Lufengosaurus and Yunnanosaurus; the ornithopod, Tsintaosaurus; and the gigantic sauropod, Mamenchisaurus; as well as China's first stegosaur, Chialingosaurus.[2]

His cremated remains are interred behind the museum at the Zhoukoudian site alongside those of his colleagues, Pei Wenzhong and Jia Lanpo.


  1. ^ "Yang Zhongjian (1897–1979)". Peking Man Site Museum. Chinese geologist and vertebrate palaeontologist. In 1928, he worked as a technician at the Geological Survey of China, and took charge of the excavation at Zhoukoudian. After the establishment of the Cenozoic Research Laboratory, he had been working as its director of Vertebrate Palaeontological Laboratory, the director of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology of Chinese Academy of Sciences respectively. 
  2. ^ Dong Zhiming (1992). Dinosaurian Faunas of China. China Ocean Press, Beijing. ISBN 3-540-52084-8. 

Further reading