Ales Hrdlicka

Today in Mailbox: We announce the winners of our listeners' competition as well as a new question for August. We quote from e-mails sent by: Bob Boundy, Harry T. Klugel, Christine Takaguchi-Coates, Paul R. Peacock, Henrik Klemetz, Colin Law and Job Nyangau.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox. Today being the first Sunday of the month, we need to reveal the correct answer to last month's competition question and also announce the names of the four lucky winners.

Before we start, our listener in New Zealand Bob Boundy was surprised at the absence of quotes last month from answers from listeners in Australia and New Zealand. I did some counting this month and out of all the answers, only two came from New Zealand and one from Australia. The response from our audience from the Southern Hemisphere tends to be poorer than from the rest of the world. Also, we tend to quote answers which bring something new to the topic, something no one else mentions in their letter. So if you don't hear your answer quoted, it doesn't mean you don't have a chance to win. Anyway, the answer this time is not Margaret Mead, as a whole listeners' club from India guessed. To find out the correct answer, let's hear the one sent in by Bob Boundy himself.

"Ales Hrdlicka was born in a town called Humpolec. The family all immigrated to New York in 1881. Hrdlicka became interested in anthropology and studied in Paris. He returned to the USA and built an anthropology laboratory. He also worked at the American Museum of Natural History, wrote books and conducted 10 expeditions. During his tenure at the Smithsonian Institute he founded the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and edited it until he died.... There is a museum in Prague named The Hrdlicka Museum of Man."

Harry T. Klugel writes from the United States:

"Hrdlicka's thesis that all humans have a common ancestor has tremendous scientific impact; but, more importantly, it has an almost revolutionary political and cultural significance. The concept that all humans are of the same origin makes us all equals! This, as well as his groundbreaking work on the origins of Native American populations, is documented in the Hrdlicka Museum of Man in Prague. All of this made Ales Hrdlicka a giant in the modern field of physical anthropology."

Christine Takaguchi-Coates from Hiroshima, Japan, wrote this in her answer:

"Hrdlicka's first job [in the United States] was at a tobacco store! At age 19, after becoming seriously ill, he entered the New York Eclectic Medical College from which he graduated with high honours. He worked in general medical practice for a while, before studying in Paris, and becoming interested in anthropology, which was a new science at that time. Not only was he interested in the evolution of man, but also in the indigenous inhabitants of America. He was one of the first to suggest that Native Americans originated in Asia, and migrated across the Bering Strait. If ever I get a chance to visit your wonderful country, I shall most certainly include the Hrdlicka Museum of Man in my list of places to see!"

Paul R. Peacock from Australia included this in his answer:

"He studied intensely the Indians of America and Mexico. He also compiled the most complete collection of human bone material in the world. In 1927 an article he published was to try to prove that all mankind had a common origin. The article was 'The Neanderthal Phase of Man'. He also conducted expeditions to areas around the Bering Strait to support his theory that Americans immigrated via this route. This led to him writing in 1943 "The Alaskan Diary 1926-1931."

And here is the answer from Charles Konecny from the USA:

"My answer to the July question... Ales Hrdlicka. It is nice to be one big happy family. So according to Mr. Hrdlicka......let me wish you a nice day, cousin."

Henrik Klemetz listens to us in Sweden:

"The anthropologist's name is Ales Hrdlicka. His findings have caused much debate, ranging from the exposure of the Piltdown Man fraud to the Neanderthal Man, who is still the object of many researchers, although they now seem to delve more into the study of DNA than bones. His theory on the Asian origin of the population in the Western hemisphere seems to carry a good deal of weight even in this day and age."

Colin Law is a regular listener in New Zealand:

"In World War II the United States ship SS Ales Hrdlicka was named in honour of Hrdlicka and a copy of a bust by sculptor Milan Knobloch stands in the Smithsonian Institution."

And finally Job Nyangau listens to Radio Prague in Kenya:

"Dr Hrdlicka achieved international acclaim in two fields. Firstly, he was interested in the indigenous inhabitants of America and secondly he tried to answer the question where humans came from, how we had evolved biologically, whether we had a common origin."

And it is Mr Nyangau to whom we'll be sending a Radio Prague T-shirt, and the other three small prizes go to Mr. Sujan Parajuli from Nepal, Harry T. Klugel from the US and Christine Takaguchi-Coates from Japan. Congratulations! Now we only have time to announce a new question for August:

"We would like you to tell us the name of the Czech-born tennis, soccer and ice hockey player who was born in 1895 and was this year inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame."

Your answers should reach us by the end of August at the usual address, [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague. Thanks for listening, good-bye.