Dragutin Gorjanović Kramberger Medal
The Annual Award of the Croatian Anthropological Society, The “Dragutin Gorjanović Kramberger” Medal is awarded to individuals for their exceptional scientific achievements and contribution(s) to anthropology in Croatia.
Dragutin Gorjanović Kramberger (1856-1936) was Croatian paleontologist, geologist and paleoanthropologist.
He studied at the University of Zürich and at the University of München, and earned his PhD in 1879 at the University of Tübingen with a dissertation on fish fossils in the Carpathians. In Vienna he worked in the Court Museum, at the University of Vienna and at the Geological Institute. He became a docent of paleontology at the University of Zagreb and in 1891 he became a corresponding member of the Yugoslav Academy of Science and Art. In 1893 he became the director of the Geological-Paleontological department of the National Museum. His scientific work was recognized in numerous European universities.
He became world-famous for his sensational discovery of the remains of the Neanderthal at Hušnjakovo brdo in Krapina, in August 1899. His major achievement was the fact that he immediately recognized the delicacy and the importance of the findings, and asked for immediate protection of the site. He initiated careful excavation and drawing of geological profiles and stratigraphic positions of the findings. With his findings of human fossils, he contributed to the explanation of the evolutionary path of man and his predecessors.
He published a series of reports on his findings, with the title Der paläolitische Mensch und seine Zeitgenossen aus dem Diluvium von Krapina in Croatien (Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien, 1899, 1901–02, 1904–05.
He also was first in the world to introduce and apply new, original analytical methods of dating of human and animal skeletal remains, and he used X-rays to analyze the inner parts of skeletal remains.
In 1906 he published the results of his excavations in the monograph Der Diluviale Mensch von Krapina in Kroatien, and continued to publish a series of scientific papers and discussions.
Gorjanović Kramberger was convinced that the remains of the Neanderthal from Krapina prove that they are direct predecessors of contemporary humans, an opinion that represents one of the contemporary views on the human evolution. Because of this, Gorianović Kramberger is considered to be the founder of the so called unilinear scheme of human evolution, according to which the Neanderthals are, at least partially, direct predecessors of contemporary European people.
Also, Gorjanović Kramberger was convinced that a long time ago culture became the basis of the human evolutionary path, and this qualifies him as the forerunner of the idea recognized by contemporary paleoanthropology.
Apart from his merits in the discovery and analysis of the Neanderthal remains in Krapina, Gorjanović Kramberger has also significantly contributed to the geological science in Croatia.
(Source of information: Hrvatski biografski leksikon Leksikografskog zavoda Miroslav Krleža, 2009.)