Meemann Chang (Chinese: 张弥曼; born 17 April 1936) also known as Zhang Miman, is a Chinese paleontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP). She completed her undergraduate studies at Moscow University and completed her PhD thesis entitled 'The braincase of Youngolepis, a Lower Devonian crossopterygian from Yunnan, south-western China' at Stockholm University.[2] She was the first woman to become head of IVPP in 1983.[3] For her many career achievements, she received an honorary degree from the University of Chicago in 2011[2] and the Romer-Simpson Medal from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in 2016.[4]

Meemann Chang
Born (1936-04-17) 17 April 1936 (age 88)
Other namesZhang Miman
Mee-mann Chang
Alma materMoscow University
Stockholm University
AwardsL'Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science (2018)[1]
Scientific career
FieldsVertebrate paleontology
InstitutionsInstitute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Doctoral studentsZhou Zhonghe
Other notable studentsXiaobo Yu
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese



Zhang was born into a wealthy and highly educated family in Nanjing, Jiangsu, on 17 April 1936, while her ancestral home is in Shengzhou, Zhejiang.[5] Her father graduated from the University of Chicago.[5] As a child, she was determined to become a doctor.[5] After the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, her family fled to different cities to take refuge. After initially living in Beibei, Sichuan, they then moved to Jiangxi, and finally they settled in Nantong.[5]

After graduating from Shanghai Tongji High School in 1953, she was admitted to Beijing Institute of Geology (now China University of Geosciences (Beijing)). Soon after, she was sent to Moscow State University to study at the expense of the government. When she returned to China, she was despatched to the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.[5] In 1965, she became a visiting scholar at the National Museum of Natural Science in Sweden. After the reform and opening up in 1980, she went to Sweden again and received her PhD from Stockholm University in 1982. She was director of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in 1983 and held that office until 1990. She became chairman of the Palaeontological Society of China in 1993, and served until 1997.

In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Chicago.[6] On 5 October 2015, she received an honorary doctoral degree from the Richard Gilder Graduate School of the American Museum of Natural History.[7] On 2 July 2021, asteroid 347336 was named after her.[8]



Species named in her honour include the extinct sarcopterygian fish Meemannia,[9] the theropod dinosaur Sinovenator changii,[10] and the extinct ornithuromorph birds Archaeornithura meemannae[11] and Meemannavis ductrix.[12] There is also a unique organ of yunnanolepid antiarch placoderms named "Chang's Apparatus" after her.[13]

Grubb, Jeff; Cordell, Bruce R.; Noonan, David (2001), Morphology, Phylogeny and Paleobiogeography of Fossil Fishes, Wizards of the Coast, ISBN 0-786918-50-0, a special book volume on fossil fish, was published in her honour.

Chang notably first described[14] and later re-described[15] the fossil genus Paralycoptera, and also described the fossil genera Diabolepis[16] and Youngolepis.[17]

Selected publications

  • Liu, H. & Chang, M. First discovery of helicoprionid in China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica (1963).
  • Chang, M New materials of Mesoclupea from southeastern China and on the systematic position of the genus. Vertebrata PalAsiatica (1963).
  • Chang, M. & Chou, J. On the fossil fishes in Mesozoic and Cenozoic oil-bearing strata from east China and their sedimentary environment. Vertebrata PalAsiatica (1978).
  • Chang, M. Palaeontology: Fossil fish up for election. Nature 403, 152–153 (2000).
  • Chang, M., Miao, D., Chen, Y., Zhou, J. & Chen, P. Suckers (Fish, Catostomidae) from the Eocene of China account for the family's current disjunct distributions. Sci. China Ser. D-Earth Sci. 44, 577–586 (2001).
  • Chang, M., Peiji, C., Yuanqing, W. & Yuan, W. Jehol Biota. Shanghai: Shanghai Scientific and (2003).
  • Chen, G., Fang, F. & Chang, M. A new cyprinid closely related to cultrins+xenocyprinins from the mid-Tertiary of South China. J. Vertebr. Paleontol. 25, 492–501 (2005).
  • Chang, M., Zhang, J. & Miao, D. A lamprey from the Cretaceous Jehol biota of China. Nature 441, 972–974 (2006).
  • Wang, X. ... Chang, M. et al. Vertebrate paleontology, biostratigraphy, geochronology, and paleoenvironment of Qaidam Basin in northern Tibetan Plateau. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 254, 363–385 (2007).
  • Chang, M. et al. Extraordinarily thick-boned fish linked to the aridification of the Qaidam Basin (northern Tibetan Plateau). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105, 13246–13251 (2008).
  • Liu, J. & Chang, M. A new Eocene catostomid (Teleostei: Cypriniformes) from northeastern China and early divergence of Catostomidae. Sci. China Ser. D-Earth Sci. 52, 189–202 (2009).
  • Xu, G.-H. & Chang, M. Redescription of †Paralycoptera wui Chang & Chou, 1977 (Teleostei: Osteoglossoidei) from the Early Cretaceous of eastern China. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 157, 83–106 (2009).
  • Wang, N. & Chang, M. Pliocene cyprinids (Cypriniformes, Teleostei) from Kunlun Pass Basin, northeastern Tibetan Plateau and their bearings on development of water system and uplift of the area. Sci. China Earth Sci. 53, 485–500 (2010).
  • Chen, G. & Chang, M. A new early cyprinin from Oligocene of South China. Sci. China Earth Sci. 54, 481–492 (2011).
  • Wang, N. & Chang, M. Discovery of fossil Nemacheilids (Cypriniformes, Teleostei, Pisces) from the Tibetan Plateau, China. Sci. China Earth Sci. 55, 714–727 (2012).





On November 13, 2017, Chang was awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science. She was nominated for "her pioneering work on fossil records leading to insights on how aquatic vertebrates adapted to life and land."[18] In November 2017, Chang was also awarded the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation Achievement Prize.[19]


  1. ^ 2018年度欧莱雅-联合国教科文组织“世界杰出女科学家成就奖”. (in Chinese). 2018-03-02.
  2. ^ a b "IVPP's Professor to Receive Honorary Degree from Chicago University----Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  3. ^ Dalton, R. (2006). "Palaeontology: Hooked on fossils". Nature. 439 (7074): 262–263. Bibcode:2006Natur.439..262D. doi:10.1038/439262a. PMID 16421540. S2CID 4357313.
  4. ^ "Past Award Winners And Grant Recipients". Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e Fu Yao (符遥) (16 April 2018). 杰出女科学家张弥曼:82岁成“国民女神”. (in Chinese). Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  6. ^ 张弥曼院士被授予芝加哥大学荣誉科学博士学位. (in Chinese). 24 May 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  7. ^ 张弥曼院士荣获美国自然历史博物馆研究生院荣誉博士学位. (in Chinese). 13 October 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  8. ^ Wu Xiaodong (武晓东) (3 July 2021). 太空又多了一颗中国星:“张弥曼星”!. sina (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  9. ^ Zhu, M.; Yu, X.; Wang, W.; Zhao, W.; Jia, L. (2006). "A primitive fish provides key characters bearing on deep osteichthyan phylogeny". Nature. 441 (7089): 77–80. Bibcode:2006Natur.441...77Z. doi:10.1038/nature04563. PMID 16672968. S2CID 1840338.
  10. ^ Xu, X.; Norell, M. A.; Wang, X. L.; Makovicky, P. J.; Wu, X. C. (2002). "A basal troodontid from the Early Cretaceous of China". Nature. 415 (6873): 780–784. Bibcode:2002Natur.415..780X. doi:10.1038/415780a. PMID 11845206. S2CID 4417515.
  11. ^ Balter, Michael (5 May 2015). "Feathered fossils from China reveal dawn of modern birds". Science. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  12. ^ O' Connor JK, Stidham TA, Harris JD, Lamanna MC, Bailleul AM, Hu H, Wang M, You H (2021). "Avian skulls represent a diverse ornithuromorph fauna from the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation, Gansu Province, China". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 60 (5): 1172–1198. doi:10.1111/jse.12823. S2CID 245586113.
  13. ^ Zhu, Min (1996). "The phylogeny of the Antiarcha (Placodermi, Pisces), with the description of Early Devonian antiarchs from Qujing, Yunnan, China" (PDF). Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. 18: 243. The opening of the CHANG's apparatus (a name erected here after Prof. M.-M. CHANG)[dead link]
  14. ^ Chang, M.; Chou, C. (1977). On Late Mesozoic fossil fishes from Zhejiang province, China. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  15. ^ Xu, G. H. I.; Chang, M. E. M. (2009). "Redescription of †Paralycoptera wuiChang & Chou, 1977 (Teleostei: Osteoglossoidei) from the Early Cretaceous of eastern China". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 157: 83–106. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2009.00532.x.
  16. ^ Chang, M. & Yu, X. Structure and Phylogenetic significance of Diabolichthys speratus gen. et sp. nov.; a new Dipnoan-like from the lower Devonian of E. Yunnan; China. Journal of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, Sydney (1984)
  17. ^ Chang, M. & Yu, X. B. (1981) A new crossopterygian, Youngolepis praecursor, gen. et sp. nov., from the Lower Devonian of Eastern Yunnan, China. Scientia Sinica 24:89-97.
  18. ^ "Chinese scientist named 2018 L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science laureate". 2018-03-09.
  19. ^ "26 Fantastic Female Scientists". Asian Scientist Magazine. 2019-03-08. Retrieved 2020-10-13.