Mullane Literary Associates

The Fossil Chronicles by Dean Falk

The Fossil Chronicles Dean Falk

Dean Falk in the news:

Early Praise for Dean Falk's The Fossil Chronicles

Dean Falk debunks some modern myths in her brilliant book, The Fossil Chronicles, by comparing the case histories of two famous fossils.... Falk's book is worth reading just for the unearthing of [Raymond Dart's] otherwise lost manuscript, vital to the history of palaeoanthropology. That it sparkles with scholarship and wit is icing on the cake.”


An appealing narrative...part historical drama, part neurological crash course and part autobiography....and the combination is refreshing. There are plenty of books about finding fossil humans and about the neurological basis for ‘what makes us human.’ But Falk has brought the subjects together with a personal touch....As new discoveries stir fresh clashes, we'll need writers and researchers like Ms. Falk to pull back the curtain on the complicated inner workings of scientific discovery.”

The Wall Street Journal

The most exciting parts of the book are when Falk describes her role in the debate. Though she claims to be disappointed that discussions over arguably the most important human fossil find in decades are largely fixated on whether it is a valid new species, the relish with which she describes the debate suggests she has enjoyed every moment.”

New Scientist

An absorbing and engagingly personal account, by a leading participant, of two of the major ‘brain wars’ that have raged along the path to our current understanding of human evolution.”

Ian Tattersall, author of The Fossil Trail and Human Origins

Vividly captures the excitement of uncovering new knowledge and the passion scientists bring to their work...[E]nlightening in its treatment of the personal politics and rivalries that accompany the scientific process, the internecine quarrels over the specifics of evolution even among scientists who agree on the theory’s broad outlines, and how ‘scientists can be as emotionally invested in their explanations of human origins as religious fundamentalists are in theirs. After all, the topic literally entails matters of life and death.’”

Publishers Weekly

With wit and authority, Falk tells the parallel stories of two fossil discoveries that surprised the world, revealing the larger significance of these finds. Her lively recounting combines new historical research with her first-hand involvement in controversial interpretations.”

Pat Shipman, author of The Animal Connection
The Man Who Found the Missing Link

“In The Fossil Chronicles, Falk engages us with a ‘tale of two brains.’ While navigating the surfaces of these ancient brains, she reveals the convolutions of scientific controversies and how personalities and paleopolitics shape the ways we think about human evolution.”

Nina G. Jablonski, author of Skin: A Natural History

“Two discoveries of early human relatives, one in 1924 and one in 2003, radically changed scientific thinking about our origins. [Now] a pioneer in the field of human brain evolution, offers this fast-paced insider's account of these discoveries, the behind-the-scenes politics embroiling the scientists who found and analyzed them, and the academic and religious controversies they generated.... Falk, who has studied the brain casts of both Taung and Hobbit, reveals new evidence crucial to interpreting both discoveries and proposes surprising connections between this pair of extraordinary specimens.”

The Guardian

Praise for Dean Falk's Finding Our Tongues

Finding Our Tongues

Fascinating...offers a bold hypothesis about the origins and evolutionary significance of language...original and full of implication.”

Boston Globe

When you watch a mother talk to her baby, you may be witnessing a dance that steered our ancestors to their first words over a million years ago. Drawing on an impressive array of data, from observations of chimpanzees to neuroimaging, Falk suggests that the mother-child relationship trained our ancestors for language, while also contributing to the development of music and art.”

Psychology Today

A bold and beautifully written book, filled with surprising insights about human nature and evolution. Dean Falk provides a lucid analysis of the origins of human language. And in so doing, she illuminates the relation between language and music, language and art, and language and knowing other people's minds. Falk brings us one step closer to solving an enduring mystery about Homo sapiens—where does language come from?”

Andrew N. Meltzoff, author of The Scientist in the Crib

  • US, German, and Italian rights sold

About the Author

Dean Falk is a Senior Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Hale G. Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University. Her work focuses on the evolution of the human brain and the emergence of language, music, art, and science, and most recently, she has participated in collaborative studies of the brain of a controversial new human species nicknamed Hobbit (Homo floresiensis) and an investigation of the brain of Albert Einstein. Falk has written about the frequently neglected role played by women and children during human evolution in her book Finding Our Tongues: Mothers, Infants & the Origins of Language, and her previous works include Primate Diversity, Braindance, and The Face in the Mirror: The Search for the Origins of Consciousness. Learn more at