On research of Estonian school students’ physical development in diploma theses of the Department of Zoology at Tartu State University, 1958–1970


  • Tiiu Kasmel Centre for Physical Anthropology, University of Tartu, Tartu
  • Jaan Kasmel Centre for Physical Anthropology, University of Tartu, Tartu




history of anthropology, Karl Ernst von Baer, Juhan Aul, University of Tartu


The article provides an overview of ten diploma theses written under the supervision of Professor of Zoology Juhan Aul at the University of Tartu from 1958–1970. The theses deal with physical development of Estonian school students in two Estonian towns (Tartu and Pärnu) and nine districts (Tartu, Elva, Põlva, Räpina, Rapla, Keila, Pärnu, Võru, Harju) according to the then existing administrative division. The theses are based on the anthropological material collected from 1956–1966.

The first part of the article briefly describes the period of nearly 202 years during which the scholars related to the University of Tartu have conducted various physical anthropological studies on Estonians. These years can conditionally be divided as follows: the first period, 1814–1927 – the period from Baer to Aul, the second period, 1927–1993 – the Aul period, the third period, from 1993 to the present – the period of the Centre for Physical Anthropology.

The article describes some of the options the students had for participating in anthropological research. An overview is given of the beginning of anthropological research of children and school students in Estonia and in the world. The article acquaints the reader with the whole of the so-called Aul period and the diploma theses on Estonian school students’ physical development supervised by him.

The second part gives an overview of the diploma theses.


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