William Straus, Jr.

October 29, 1900 - January 28, 1981

Scientific Discipline: Cellular and Developmental Biology
Membership Type:
Member (elected 1962)

William L. Straus, Jr. made major strides in the field of anatomy, particularly in the evolution of the foot in primates. Combining research in paleontology with anatomical studies, Straus argued that humans and apes descended from separate, but related animals. 

Originally interested in history, Straus received an A.B. degree in the subject from Johns Hopkins University in 1920.  However, his focus shifted towards the natural sciences, and in 1926, he earned a Ph.D. in zoology from Johns Hopkins.  He taught anatomy at his alma mater from 1927 to 1952.  In 1947, Straus became the head of the Department of Anatomy at Johns Hopkins, and held the position for two years.  In 1952, he started teaching physical anthropology, and in 1957, he became professor of anatomy and physical anthropology.  He was a member of the American Institute of Human Paleontology, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, where he was the president from 1953 to 1955, and the American Society of Mammalogists.  For his extensive research in the field of physical anthropology, Straus received the Viking Fund Award in 1952.

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