Department of Archaeological Anthropology, Institute for Anthropological Research
Friday Afternoon, 200DE
This paper disscuses Fred H. Smith’s influence on the development of contemporary Croatian paleoanthropology. He was among the first contemporary western scientists who drew attention to the importance of the Krapina Neandertal remains. His PhD dissertation (1976) and subsequent papers resulted in a renewal of interest in the Krapina sample (today these are one of the most studied Neandertal samples in the world). He has been continuously working on Croatian material since the early 1970’s, always collaborating with Croatian scholars (the number of his papers dealing with Croatian material has long passed the centennial mark). He was, and is involved in archaeological excavations of Croatian prehistoric sites such as Mujina Pećina, Velika Pećina at Kličevica, Zala, pećina Bukovac among others. After working on the initial description of the Vindija Neandertal remains, he has worked on this material ever since. Thus, it is only proper that the Vindija remains have an important role in the Assimilation model of the modern human emergence, and that the recently published genomic research on Neandertals mostly stems from the Vindija fossils. Over the years Fred Smith has trained Croatian students (he is a visiting profesor at the University of Zagreb) and now one of this students teaches courses on human evolution at the University of Zagreb. In short, he had a crucial role in the development of contemporary field of Paleoanthropology in Croatia. For this he was awarded with the Gorjanović-Kramberger medal and award of the Croatian Anthropological Society in 2009.