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Dr. Aleš Hrdlička

Nature volume 143, page 631 (15 April 1939) | Download Citation



ON March 29, Dr. Aleš Hrdlička, curator of the Department of Physical Anthropology of the U.S. National Museum, Washington, D.C., and the founder of the study of physical anthropology in America, celebrated his seventieth birthday. The occasion has been marked by a gathering of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists at Washington during April 4–5, and a commemorative volume is being prepared, to which the principal anthropologists of the world have contributed. Ales Hrdlicka was born in Bohemia on March 29, 1869, and graduated in medicine in New York. In 1903 he was invited to become assistant curator in the U.S. National Museum to organize a department of physical anthropology, of which he became curator in 1910. Under his direction, a collection has been built up, which is now the largest in the world, including more than 16,000 skulls, human and sub-human, from all parts of the world and of all ages. As an authority on the descent and racial affinities of man, Dr. Hrdlička's judgment is universally received a's authoritative. Bold in theoretical argument, his views are invariably characterized by an intensely conservative regard for the precise limitations of the evidence in question. He is best known, perhaps, as the foremost authority on the occurrence of early man in America and the Asiatic origin of the American Indian race, of which he has found the ancestral stock in the primitive strata of Siberian peoples. For more than a decade Dr. Hrdlicka has engaged in expeditions to the far north in each summer to investigate the evidence of the migrations of the Eskimo and their predecessors into the American continent. He will submit the results of his research to the Royal Anthropological Institute at a meeting to be held in London on April 25.

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