S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Huene, Freiher Friedrich von (palaeontology)

Born: 22 March 1875, Tuebingen, Germany.
Died: 4 April 1969, Tuebingen, Germany.

Friedrich von Huene, whose full name was Friedrich Richard, Freiher Hoyningen, was a German palaeontologist and a leading expert on dinosaurs. As a religious person, his interest in palaeontology included the means it provided of acknowledging God's creation. He studied the origins of invertebrates and related geological questions, but later focussed on vertebrate fossils and became a specialist on the Order Saurischia (which includes dinosaurs). Being a researcher, rather than an academic, he travelled widely in Europe and later undertook expeditions to North America, Brazil, Argentina, and Africa. Among others he discovered the fossil skeletons of more than 35 individuals of Plateosaurus in a quarry at Trossingen (near Tuebingen), as well as many other dinosaurs and other fossils. He produced over 300 publications (in German), including monographs on dinosaurs and mammal-like reptiles, papers on the taxonomy of dinosaurs and on the synthesis between theology and natural science, and proposed the higher taxa Prosauropoda and Sauropodomorpha. His more comprehensive publications included Die Dinosaurier der Europaeschen Triasformation (1908), Die Ichthyosaurier der Lias und ihre Zusammenhaeng (1922), Die fossile Reptilordnung Saurischia (1932), and Palaeontologie und Phylogenie der Niederen Tetrapoda (1956). Many of the fossils he collected went to the saurier collection of the Geologisch-Palaeontologischen Institute in Tuebingen.

Von Huene's first contribution to palaeontological knowledge of southern Africa was a short paper on a foot of a Triassic dinosaur found in South Africa: "Ueber einen Dinosaurierfuss aus der Trias von Sued-Afrika" (Neues Jahrbuch der Mineralogie, Geologie und Palaeontologie, 1911). In about 1925 he visited South West Africa (now Namibia) and in the company of Ernst Reuning* studied the rocks and fossils of the Karoo Sequence in Damaraland. Reuning and he published an account of the "Fossilfuehrende Karrooschichten im noerdlichen Suedwestafrika" in the Neues Jahrbuch Beilage Band (1925), describing, among others, the Mesosaurus finds at Doros and the now famous dinosaur footprints in the Etjo Sandstone Formation on the farm Otjihaenamaparero, near Kalkfeld. Huene on his own also produced further papers on the geology and palaeontology of the Namibian Karoo Sequence (1925), the Triassic fossil mammals of Namibia (1925), the South African Karoo fauna (1925, 1931), and one of his very few papers written in English, "Some additions to the knowledge of Procolophon, Lystrosaurus, Noteosuchus and Cistecephalus (Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 1926, Vol. 13, pp. 139-144).

Shortly after his visit to southern Africa von Huene travelled to South America and subsequently published extensively on its fossil fauna.

List of sources:

Hall, A.L. A bibliography of South African geology. Pretoria: Geological Survey, Memoirs No. 18 (1922), 25 (1927), 27 (1931) and 30 (1937).

Hugo, P.J., Schalk, K.E.L. & Barnes, S-J. Bibliography of South West African/Namibian earth science. Windhoek: Geological Survey, 1983.

Neue Deutsche Biographie. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1953-.

Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 1926, Vol. 13, paper by von Huene.

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org

Compiled by: C. Plug