Braindance, Revised and Expanded Edition:
New Discoveries about Human Origins and Brain Evolution

Dean Falk

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From reviews of the first edition:
"Falk has taken on the Old Guard, knocked Lucy from her pedestal, and scolded her colleagues for their trend toward 'splitomania.' Her reasoning is intriguing, her courage admirable."--Kirkus

"Falk challenges some of her discipline's most sacred cows in this controversial, entertaining account of the hominid brain. . . . She discusses in fascinating detail the evolution of brain lateralization, and she presents her compelling arguments with a sense of adventure and humor."--Library Journal

"Falk writes so clearly and interestingly about brain anatomy and evolution that Braindance should be considered a significant contribution to both biological anthropologists and to the general public."--American Journal of Physical Anthropology

"You've probably never thought of paleoanthropology as a spectator sport, but the fights these bone-hunters get into rival anything you'll see inside a hockey ring. Falk's lucid and witty book provides an elegant theory, based on sound scientific thinking, and to her credit she prints her critics' views of her theory as well as her refutations."-- Bookpage

When first published in 1992, Braindance presented a revolutionary look at the origins of the human brain. Biological anthropologist Dean Falk now brings the discussion into the 21st century. In this revised edition with a new preface and updated information through 2003, she reexamines her groundbreaking research of how the human brain evolved and reveals how this process continues to impact our species.

Around two million years ago, our earliest hominin ancestors experienced an explosive brain expansion, at least one million years after they began to walk upright. Rather than linking bipedalism alone with brain expansion, as previously theorized, Falk’s explanation involves climate. She contends that bipedalism allowed our ancestors to wander farther afield in savannah-like regions, where their brains were subjected to solar heating. Falk and her colleagues discovered that one hominin line developed a complicated brain-cooling system to combat the destructive effects of excessive heat. This ability and expanding brain size evolved together, thus producing hominins with a brain capacity three times greater than their ancestors.

Falk further discusses the evolution of visual skills, right-handedness, language ability, right-brain/left-brain and male/female differences--and the uniquely human ability to dance. The specifics of how we tapped, toed, and twisted through the prehistoric "brain dance" form the story line of this book. And what did two million years of bigger brains produce? The last chapter summarizes Falk’s ideas on human cognitive and conscious capacities for the future.

Dean Falk is professor of anthropology at Florida State University and honorary professor of human biology at the University of Vienna.

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"The revised and expanded edition of Braindance provides a detailed personal account about a rather controversial topic--the evolution of the human brain." "I recommend this book to both general enthusiasts and students. It offers a genuine glimpse of the less familiar aspects of brain evolution in the context of academic 'brainwars.'"
--The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"interesting, well-argued, and usefully illustrated"
--Journal of Anthropological Research

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