Yang Zhongjian, also Yang Chung-chien (Chinese: 杨钟健; Wade–Giles: Yang2 Chung1-chien4; 1 June 1897 – 15 January 1979), courtesy name Keqiang (克强), also known as C.C. (Chung Chien) Young, was a Chinese paleontologist and zoologist. He was one of China's foremost vertebrate paleontologists. He has been called the "Father of Chinese Vertebrate Paleontology".

Yang Zhongjian
Yang Zhongjian in 1922, Uppsala, Sweden
Born(1896-06-01)June 1, 1896
DiedJanuary 15, 1979(1979-01-15) (aged 82)
Other namesChung Chien Young
Alma materPeking University
University of Munich
Scientific career
  • Zoology
  • paleontology


Yang (center) at the Lantian Man site in 1965

Yang was born in Hua County, Shaanxi, China. He graduated from the Department of Geology of Peking University in 1923, and in 1927 received his doctorate from the University of Munich 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]



Yang's cremated remains are interred behind the museum at the Zhoukoudian site alongside those of his colleagues, Pei Wenzhong and Jia Lanpo.[citation needed]

In 2007, when Lü Junchang and colleagues described a second species of Yunnanosaurus, they named it Yunnanosaurus youngi in Yang's honour.[3]


  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.
  3. ^ Lu, J., Li, T., Zhong, S., Azuma, Y., Fujita, M., Dong, Z., and Ji, Q. (2007). "New yunnanosaurid dinosaur (Dinosauria, Prosauropoda) from the Middle Jurassic Zhanghe Formation of Yuanmou, Yunnan Province of China." Memoir of the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, 6: 1-15.

Further reading