Biography

Dean Falk

Dean Falk is an American evolutionary anthropologist who splits her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico where she is a Senior Scholar at the School for Advanced Research (SAR), and Tallahassee, Florida where she is a Distinguished Research Professor and the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University. Since receiving her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1976, she has taught anatomy and anthropology courses at various universities. Her research on the fossil record has taken her to museums in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Broadly speaking, her work focuses on the evolution of the human brain (paleoneurology) and the associated emergence of language, music, art, and science. Falk has published numerous scientific and popular books and articles, and has lectured extensively about evolution to both academic and public audiences.

Self portrait by Eve Penelope Schofield (Dean Falk’s granddaughter) when she was eleven years old.

Falk has collaborated on studies of the brain of a specimen nicknamed Hobbit, which represents a newly discovered human species (Homo floresiensis), and investigations of the brain of Albert Einstein. She has also done research on the important, but frequently neglected, role played by women and children during human evolution, as detailed in her book Finding Our Tongues: Mothers, Infants & the Origins of Language. Her experiences as a woman in the volatile field of paleoanthropology, which has traditionally been dominated by men, are part of the reason she wrote The Fossil Chronicles: How Two Controversial Discoveries Changed Our View of Human Evolution (2011). 2017 finds Falk working on several fossil projects with colleagues from Europe, Africa, and America.  Her latest book, Geeks, Genes, and the Evolution of Asperger Syndrome, is coauthored with her granddaughter Eve Penelope Schofield (University of New Mexico Press: spring, 2018).