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Brain Evolution From Lucy to Einstein

Speaker(s): Dr. Dean Falk

Houston, TX

November 10 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Imprints of brains stamped on the insides of ancestral skulls (called endocasts) provide clues about the evolution of intelligence. The same kinds of analyses used to examine the bumps and grooves on the brains of apes, early ancestors, and modern people have been used to study the cerebral cortex of Albert Einstein.

Although the size of Einstein’s brain was average, the form of his cortex was extraordinary. Einstein’s brain verifies that, in addition to increased brain size during human evolution, alterations in the brain’s wiring were crucial for the emergence of complex thinking.

This is reflected in the archeological record of material culture, which progressed from simple stone tools in early ancestors to the relatively recent invention of reading in Homo sapiens and the subsequent development of complex problem solving, like Einstein’s theory of relativity.

In this lecture, Dr. Dean Falk of Florida State University will discuss the latest understanding of the evolution of human intelligence – past, present, and future. Falk has directed research on the brains (or traces of them in fossilized skulls) of apes, prehistoric human relatives, and relatively recent humans including Homo floresiensis (aka “Hobbit”) and Albert Einstein.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Houston Museum of Natural Science and generously supported by Ann and Gordon Getty, Camilla and George Smith, and the Brown Foundation, Inc.


November 10
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


The Leakey Foundation


The Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030 United States
+ Google Map
(713) 639-4629
Dr. Dean Falk

Dr. Dean Falk is the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology and a Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University. Falk is a paleoanthropologist whose interests include brain evolution and the emergence of language, music, analytical thinking, and warfare in humans. She is a Leakey Foundation grantee whose most recent book is "Geeks, Genes, and the Evolution of Asperger Syndrome."

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Geeks, Genes, and the Evolution of Asperger Syndrome

In this talk, Falk will explore the origins of autism, whether it is currently evolving, how it differs in males and females, and whether it is a global phenomenon. Following the talk, she will be signing a copy of her new book, co-written with her granddaughter Eve Schofield, who has Asperger syndrome.

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