- Mirko Malez
Mirko Malez, PhD. Prof. (born November 5, 1924.) in the village Ivanec, near Varaždin; (died August 23, 1990.) in Zagreb, Croatia, was a prominent Croatian palaeontologist, speleologist, geo-scientist, ecologist and natural history writer. Known also as a "pioneer of Croatian speleoarchaeology". He was a regular member of the Yugoslav Academy, JAZU (present-day Croatian, HAZU - Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts and one of the only four Croatian PhDs of speleology (Josip Poljak 1922., Mirko Malez 1963., Srećko Božičević 1985. and Mladen Garašić 1986.). Thanks to Malez's popularization of science, the Varaždin county, in northern Croatia, is sometimes known also as a "cradle of Palaeolithic". Malez once described the emergence of early man in this area:
"Favourable climate conditions, the flora and fauna present on the NW Croatian soils during the Pleistocene, enabled continuous immigration to this area, since the earliest Palaeolithic periods up to upper Mesolithic. Hrvatsko Zagorje impersonated the natural ecumene for Palaeolithic hunters - gatherers through the whole period of Pleistocene, and it is definitely a "cradle of Palaeolithic", ditto not only Croatian, but for the wider SE European area likewise."
To him in honor were appointed four new species: Dalmatichthys malezi (Radovčić 1975.), Ilyocypris malezi (Sokač 1978.), Mimomys malezi (Rabeder 1983.) and Vaccinites malezi (Slišković 1991.) The majority of his papers and research interests were dedicated to faunas of fossil mammals of Pleistocene and paleontological processing of certain species, determining their taxonomical position, migrations and palaeogeography.
Mirko Malez was born in a large family in a small town Ivanec, NW Croatia on 24. November 1924. at his family home. He was the first of six children of a local razor and an amateuer photographer Slavko Malez, and Matilda Malez (née Polak). He finished elementary school in 1939. In the summer of 1935. a local naturalist and archaeologist Stjepan Vuković organized an exhibition of prehistorical finds from the Vindija cave and the Sever's quarry near Vuglovac, and this event in Malez's early childhood certainly affected his future career.
Malez did not immediately enrol the local gymnasium, probably due to family material shortages. The nearness of Ivanec lignite mine pit enabled him to learn electrician apprenticeship instead. Even though his ambitions were much higher than that, the emergence of the World War II in 1939. interrupted his education. During the war he worked as an assistant electrician and machinist at the Ivanec lignite mine pit. In 1945. he was deported by Yugoslav Partisans to captivity in Serbia because he was associated with Croatian Home Guard (Croatian: Hrvatsko domobranstvo, often abbr. to Domobrani). Soon after he was secluded off the group to affiliate the team on repairing the local power plant. After returning home, he decided to continue his education. Malez graduated from the local gymnasium in 1948. As a distinct nature lover, Malez deferred to prof. Vuković (Stjepan Vuković, who as early as 1928. showed an interest in the cave Vindija near Ivanec, and from 1934. - until 1969. uncovered archaeological finds in its Holocene layers), to be able to haunt the local hills, caves, mountains and prehistoric sites - Ivanščica, Ravna Gora, the Vindija cave, etc. Soon after he issued his first articles in the magazines Srednjoškolac and Varaždinske vijesti.
Being impressed with the fossil finds, he decided to study geology and paleontology. Along the study he performed the duty of a demonstrator and an assistant in organizing geological team expeditions, led by prof. Marijan Salopek within the Geological-paleontological Institute of the Faculty. Malez received an A.B. in 1953. and a Ph.D. in 1963., both in geology and palaeontology, from the Faculty of Science, Dept. of Geology, University of Zagreb. He has published his first fieldwork reports in 1953. In 1963. his dissertation was on the theme " Stratigraphic and paleontological research of diluvial (Diluvium) site inside the Veternica cave (Medvednica, near Zagreb).
Malez has a daughter Vesna Malez, dr. sc. (born 1949.), who is an esteemed and recognized Croatian scientist of paleornithology at HAZU, currently retired at the Institute for Quaternary paleontology and geology (Jan.01.2011-). 
Since the very first beginning of his research work, started in 1946. year, academician Malez has been recognized as a very active and productive speleologist. Due to fact he was a geologist, he has work also on other specialised researches: geology, geomorphology, genesis, hydrology, tectonic, palaeontology, archaeology, microclimate, biospeleology and other. In frame of research he regularly made photo documentation, what is today important professional and historical and historical document of his researches. His speleological research comprise today independent states: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Monte Negro, Serbia and Slovenia, where he has researched around 1000 caves, majority of them in Croatia. His speleological researches M. Malez has published systematically since 1952. till 1974., fully 23 years, in Academian publication: Ljetopis JAZU.
In his works some monographs have highlight position as caves of Učka Mt. and Ćićarija Mt. in Istria, caves in SW Lika together with 277 documented caves, same as monographs of Veternica cave near Zagreb and Cerovačke špilje caves near Gračac. In 1953. he was one of establishers of the magazine Speleolog, first speleo magazine in Croatia and former Yugoslavia. He was one of organisers of the 2nd speleo congress in Split in 1958., but also the main organiser of the 9th Yugoslavian speleo congress in Karlovac in 1984. Where he was chief editor of Proceedings, published on almost 900 pages. Such an extensive and systematically speleological agency interpolate M. Malez between most prominent speleologists in Croatia. (ed. Roman Ozimec, Hrvoje Cvitanović: Papers on the Institute for scientific research work in Varaždin, Issue 22, 15 HAZU, 2011. 105-106).
On June 6, 1953. Malez begun his professional career as an assistant at the professional class of an Academician Marijan Salopek in the Geological - Paleontological Collection and Karst Laboratory of the JAZU (Yugoslav Academy of Art and Science) (The Collection & Laboratory unit was officially active since March 24, 1955.) Its purpose was geological – paleontological, hydrological and speleological research of the karst and the archive development. Since it very soon redirected its research to palaeontology of the vertebrates and quaternary geology, the Academy on July 25 renamed the Paleontological Collection unit into the The Institute for Quaternary Palaeontology and Geology with Mirko Malez as its first director. In 1978. the Academy established the Research Center and its first director was Malez as well. Malez ultimately stayed on this position up to his retirement in March 1990. He began his associate JAZU (HAZU) membership in 1968., and a regular membership in 1979. Malez was creditable for the development of the Collection and Library of the Institute for Quaternary Palaeontology and Geology.
In 1989. he was chosen to receive his associate membership of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He worked with many foreign scientists and experts, especially Austrian and Soviet. Worth mentioning is a corporation on making the geological map of Yugoslavia, mapping for the pedological map, cooperations with dr. Teofil Slišković in interpreting the vertebrate fossil finds and the quaternary geology of the Bosnia and Herzegovina, than with prof. Ivan Rakovec (doyen of Slovenian quaternary research), dr. Risto Garevski during the analyses of the tertiary vertebrate faunas of Macedonia, prof. Erich Thenius and Helmuth Zapfe in Vienna, Herbert Ullrich from Berlin, Henry de Lumley from Paris, Fred Smith from the USA and Ann Forsten from Helsinki.
Following his research mentality and scientific obligations during the years he visited Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Marocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, China and Mexico.
The world famous media as National Geographic and the BBC showed special interest on Malez's research.
Along the scientific research, he served as an editor in chief for all issues of the whilom journal Razred za prirodne znanosti Akademije  and a number of many other magazine editorial advices and interacademic boards. Since the early 1950s he started publishing scientific – popular articles about speleology and geology in magazines Naše Planine and Speleolog. Malez has issued over 200 papers and 14 speleological studies and analyses about speleology that cover cave genesis, underground and surface karst phenomenon.
Malez was also associate professor at the Faculty of Science (Prirodoslovno-matematički Fakultet) at the University of Zagreb. He was the founder and the president of the Speleological Association of Croatia.
During the expedition to "Strašna peć" cave in 1953.(eng. "the horrible stove"), Malez wrote: "We were muddy, dirty, bloody as well, since we scraped on the stone blocks and stalactites during the wriggling and crawling. But, we didn't feel sorry. We were inebriated of the beauty we saw inside that place. We have introduced the harmony of the natural creation and have realised that it is indeed "horrible", as its name is telling us..".
For his scientific contributions in 1966. he received the "Ruđer Bošković" award. Malez left over 430 original scientific, expert and popular - scientific papers on quaternary geology, tertiary and quaternary vertebrates, the fossil man and its material cultures, and papers about Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeology and speleology. Some of his main research sites include Vindija, Istrian sites Šandalja, Oporovina, Romualdova cave, Pećina on the Gradina hills, Vergotinova cave, Klanjčeva peć, Podosojna peć, Loza and the well known cave Veternica, on the southern hill slopes NW of the Croatian capital Zagreb. In Romualdova cave between 1961. and 1962., Malez excavated 5 probes in the cave and found bones of Pleistocene animals, including: cave bear, cave lion, leopard, cave hyena, wild horse, big deer, snow hare, etc.
Malez has carried out anatomical-morphological analyses and analyses of the geological stratigraphy dating, appearance of ice wedges, development of river terraces and other. He paid special attention to the levels of the Gravettien culture in the Šandalja cave near the city Pula, Croatia. On the evidences of hearthstones and material cultures, Malez has found the presence of the early man (Homo erectus) in the Šandalja cave dated approx. 900 000 years . The site Vindija cave was first excavated in the first half of the 20th century, and more extensively excavated between 1974 and 1986 by Mirko Malez of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In addition to archaeological and faunal remains, numerous archaeological and faunal remains, with over 100 hominid discoveries have been found. In coauthoring with prof. erich Thenius (Palent. jugosl., 34, 1985.) he describes the new specie from the Perissodactyla ordinance, Amynodontidae family: Cadurcotherium rakoveci which fragments has been found in Ugljevik, Croatia within the brown coal dated on upper Oligocene (lower Miocene?). That specie is the most evolutioned of that order that migrated to Europe from Asia in the beginning of the Oligocene. During the deep-sea trawling by driftnet in 1979. in the aquatorium between islands Rab, Laganj and Pag his team drew out a molar and a diaphysis of the femur of a fossil elephant. The find has been described in an article "New subspecies of the southern elephant (Mammuthus meridionalis adriacus n. ssp.) from the bottom of the Adriatic Sea (Croatia, Yugoslavia) coauthored with Jadranka Lenardić-Fabić, published in the journal Palaeontologia jugoslavica, issue 37, 1988.
An another significant Malez's research was in cooperation with professor Gernot Rabeder, when they studied the fauna of mammals from bone breccias, from the Podumci 1 site, dated mostly to lower Pleistocene. The study was under the title "Neues Fundmaterial von Kleinsaugern aus der altpleistozanen Spaltenfullung Podumci 1 in Norddalmatien", published in 1984. in the magazine Beitrage zur Palaontologie von Osterreich, issue no. 11. The data from that study enabled to the authors stratigraphic analyses of the fauna and the reconstruction of the evolutionary lines of the families Episoriculus, Microtus, Pliomys, Lagurus and Dinaromys. There were determined and 3 new species: Episoriculus thenii, Reteliomys podumcensis, Microtus thenii and a subspecie Lagurus arankae podumcensis.
Malez participated in the editorial team on publishing the monograph project "Prehistory of the Yugoslav countries". Further, in a few articles he analysed pathological transformations on the bones of cave bear remains in cooperation with prof. Nikolić and the Institute for Anatomy of the faculty for Medicine of the University of Zagreb.
The controversy related to Malez emerged in 1990. when he wrote an article "80 years of the organised speleological research in Croatia" in the first issue of the Croatian speleological Journal Speleologia Croatica (5-8), that the organised speleological research in Croatia begins with establishing the "Committee for cave research" within the Geological Commission of the Kingdom Of Croatia and Slavonia in 1910. In Malez's article there was no mention of the "hiking sections", other departments or, as well and famous KS PSH (Commission for Speleology, Mountain Association of Croatia). It was quite controversial that Malez mentioned in that article only the state institutions and some companies related to speleological activities. However, the Malez's prospective omission was probably the reflection of the confusing social situation that was present at that time in Croatia, as among the academic population, thus the issue was probably just a part of the political dissent.
He was an honorary member of the Speleological society of Croatia, Croatian geological survey, Croatian natural history society, Croatian anthropological society and Croatian geographic society. As an active member he participated in the work of Deutsche Quartarvereinigung, Hugo Obermeier Gesellschaft, Paleontological Association and others.
Malez was a great admirer of the nature and a persistent supporter of the nature conservation and protection initiatives.
A pioneer of Croatian speleoarchaeology
Prominent Croatian archaeologists are known to have been part of Malez's team of explorers, particularly in Lika. In this way, Academician Malez reintroduced Croatian archaeology to its homeland. As a result, on the basis of his superb stratigraphic, palaeontological, palaeoanthropological, palaeoclimatic, and of course archaeological documentation, archaeology significant contributed to the understanding of certain aspects of ways of life from the Old Stone Age until, for example the Middle Ages. Thanks to Academician Malez, from the cave areas it has been found about changes in the ecosystem (flora, fauna), types of climatic periods, and the first groups of fossil people, i.e. their material culture, raw materials, daily activities (hunting, gathering, lithic artefact manufacturing) and spiritual culture.
"Krapina early man and hominid evolution" conferences
One of the most significant events dr. Malez was involved in as an honorary chairmanship member, was a series of conferences "Krapina early man and hominid evolution", held on May, 31st 1969. in Zagreb to honour the 70th anniversary of the discovery of the Krapina early man, primarily by the eminent Croatian geologist and paleontologist Dragutin Gorjanović-Kramberger. There were presented results of recent studies of the rich paleontological, paleoanthropological and archaeological material gathered from Pleistocene layers of a shelter in the Hušnjakovo hill at Krapina. The event have attracted such attention and interest for the Krapina remains among many scientists as Erik Trinkaus, J. H. Musgrave, F. H. Smith, C. Guth, M. - A. de Lumley, Milford H. Wolpoff, A. Gardner and H. Ullrich.
The conferences on the Krapina Early Man and Hominid Evolution were organized by Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts (JAZU).
File:Krapina - Hruskovo 01.jpg The earlier Quaternary geological, paleontological, archaeological, paleoclimatological, and other research of the Krapina site and its wider vicinity has been continued as well subsequent meetings were organized on the future occasions, as the one held on September 17, 1976. in Krapina, also organized by JAZU.
The last published paper of Mirko Malez was a biographical article dedicated to Croatian-Argentinian paleontologist Luka Kraljević.
Legacy and Death
Dr. Mirko Malez died at the age of 65, on August 23, 1990. in Zagreb after a serious illness. His body was cremated and the mortal ashes was laid down at the urn cemetery at the Zagreb's Mirogoj. The Academy (HAZU) organized a commemoration dedicated to Malez, held on Dec. 5th 1991.
During the last 21 years there were many conferences, gatherings and tribute meetings organized in Croatia and abroad to honour the character and work of that famous Croatian scientist. One of the most recent was surely a conference held on Nov. 20. 2010. in his hometown Ivanec, Croatia, to honour the 20th anniversary of his death. A group of 15 scientists recalled the significance of his scientific contributions to local geology, archaeology and paleontology. On June 17. 2011. in his hometown Ivanec, a new published Proceedings dedicated to Mirko Malez were presented by Ivanec's mayor Milorad Batinić and HAZU Academicians Ivan Gušić and Slobodan Kaštela.
In memory of academician Mirko Malez, on March 25-26 2011 in Zagreb was organized 2nd international scientific meeting by the National INQUA Committee (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Department for Natural Sciences, Institute of Quaternary Paleontology and Geology). The meeting celebrated and the 55th anniversary of the Institute of Quaternary Paleontology and Geology. The honorary chairmanship board included mr. sc. Ljerka Marjanac, dr. sc. Lidija Galović, dr. sc. Nada Horvatinčić, prof. dr. sc. Mladen Juračić, prof. dr. sc. Ivor Karavanić and prof. dr. sc. Josipa Velić.
To honor Mirko Malez, the town Ivanec's authority decided to appoint its central street after academician Mirko Malez. In a little town of Lepoglava near Varaždin in Sept. of 2005. was established a small group Friends Club of the minerals "Mirko Malez".
Malez referenced some of his research data results on the journal articles:
- M. Malez, 1956. Erster Fund des oberdiluvialen Menchen im dinarischen Karst, Bull. scientifique 3, 2 (Zagreb)
- M. Malez, 1960a, Paleontološka i speleološka istraživanja u 1960. godini, Ljetopis JAZU 67.
- M. Malez, 1960b, Entdeckung des ersten palaolithischen Fundortes in Dalmatien, Bull. scientifique 5, 4
- M. Malez, 1962. Romualdo Cave, a new significant pleistocene site in Istria, Bull. scientifique 7, 6
- M. Malez, 1964. Šandalja bei Pula - ein neuer und wichtiger palaolithischer Fundort in Istrien, Bull. scientifique 9, 6
- M. Malez, 1965a, Cerovačke pećine, Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1965b, Nalazišta fosilnih hominida u Hrvatskoj, Geološki vjesnik 18/2, Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1967a, Paleolitska nalazišta Hrvatske, Arheološki vestnik XVIII (Ljubljana)
- M. Malez, 1967b, Gornjopleistocenska fauna Crvene stijene, GZM NS XXI/XXII
- M. Malez, 1968. Tragovi paleolita u Romualdovoj pećini kod Rovinja u Istri, Acta et diss VI
- M. Malez, 1969. Šandalja bei Pula - eine bedeutende Ansiedlung der jungpalaolithischer Jager in Istrien, U. Internat. Kongress fur Speleologie, Stuttgart
- M. Malez & J. C. Vogel, 1969. Rezultati određivanja apsolutne starosti pleistocenskih naslaga Šandalje II kod Pule u Istri, Geološki vjesnik 22
- M. Malez, 1970. Krapina 1899 - 1969, JAZU Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1970. Adriatica Praehistorica et Antiqua, Zagreb: Das Palaolithikum im Gebiete der Ostkunste der Adria (1-16)
- M. Malez, 1970. Novi pogledi na stratigrafiju krapinskog nalazišta: Krapina 1899-1969, p. 13-44, JAZU Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1970. Rezultati revizije pleistocenske faune iz Krapine: Krapina 1899-1969, JAZU Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1970. Paleolitska kultura Krapine u svjetlu novijih istraživanja: Krapina 1899-1969, JAZU Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1975. Die Hohle Vindija - eine neue Fundstelle fossiler Hominiden in Kroatien. Bulletin scientifique Conseil des Academies des Sciences et des Arts de la RSF de Yugoslavie 20/5-6, p. 139-141.
- M. Malez & D. Rukavina, 1975. Krioturbacijske pojave u gornjopleistocenskim naslagama pećine Vindije u sjeverozapadnoj Hrvatskoj. Rad JAZU 371(17), pp. 245–265
- M. Malez, 1978a, Stratigrafski, paleofaunski i paleolitski odnosi krapinskog nalazišta: Krapinski pračovjek i evolucija hominida, p. 61-91, JAZU Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1978b, Novija istraživanja paleolitika u Hrvatskom zagorju: Arheološka istraživanja u sjeverozapadnoj Hrvatskoj (ed. Ž. Rapanić), p. 6-69, Croatian Archaeological Society 2, Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1979a, Rad na istraživanju paleolitskog i mezolitskog doba u Hrvatskoj: Praistorija jugoslavenskih zemalja, vol. I (ed. A. Benac), pp. 221–226, Sarajevo
- M. Malez, 1979b, Nalazišta paleolitskog i mezolitskog doba u Hrvatskoj: Praistorija jugoslavenskih zemalja, vol. I (ed. A. Benac), pp. 227–276, Sarajevo
- M. Malez, 1980. Kvartar-geološka istraživanja spilje Vindije u 1980. godini: Vijesti JAZU 2, 16-18
- M. Malez, 1981. Paleolitik na području Zagreba: Arheološka istraživanja u Zagrebu i njegovoj okolici (ed. Ž. Rapanić), pp. 65–108, Croatian Archaeological Society 6, Zagreb
- M. Malez, 1983. Prilog poznavanju kulta spiljskog medvjeda u paleolitiku Hrvatske: Zbornik za narodni život i običaje Južnih Slavena 49, pp. 333–347.
- M. Malez, 1985a, Spilja Vindija kao kultno mjesto neandertalca. Godišnjak Gradskog muzeja u Varaždinu 7, pp. 31–47
- M. Malez, 1985b, On the possibility of the Existence of a skull cult in Neanderthals from the Vindija cave (Croatia, Yugoslavia). Collegium Anthropologicum 9(2), pp. 231–240
- M. Malez, 1986. Pregled paleolitičkih i mezolitičkih kultura na području Istre; Izdanja Hrvatskog arheološkog društva, br. 11, pp. 3–47
- M. Malez, 1987. Izdanja Hrvatskog arheološkog društva, 11, Pula
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