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October 5, 1970

Johann Friedrich Meckel, The Younger (1781-1833)

JAMA. 1970;214(1):138-139. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180010078021

Johann Friedrich Meckel, the greatest comparative anatomist in Germany prior to Johannes Müller, is recognized as the most renowned of the scientific Meckel dynasty. His grandfather, Meckel the Elder, professor of anatomy, physic, and obstetrics of the University of Berlin, described what is now known as Meckel's ganglion (sphenopalatine), whereas the father of Meckel the Younger, Philipp Friedrich Theodor, served as professor of anatomy, surgery, and obstetrics at Halle. P. F. T. Meckel's two sons were August Albert, professor of anatomy and forensic medicine at Berne, who died prematurely, and Johann Friedrich.

Meckel the Younger studied medicine at Halle and Göttingen and graduated MD from Halle in 1802.1 His doctoral dissertation, prepared in Latin, De Cordis Conditionibus Abnormibus, discussed congenital abnormalities of the heart.2 After a long study tour, which included visits to Würzburg, Vienna, Paris, and other medical centers, he returned to his alma mater in 1805.