Dean Falk (born June 25, 1944) is an American academic anthropologist who specializes in the evolution of the brain and cognition in higher primates. She is presently a Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University.
After the skeletal remains of an 18,000-year-old, "Hobbit"-sized human were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 they were identified as a new species labelled Homo floresiensis. Some scientists thought that the specimen must have been a pygmy or a microcephalic — a human with an abnormally small skull. Falk undertook a study in 2005 which supported the claim that the find represented a new species.
Falk's original 2005 study was criticised by other experts. In 2007, with an international team of experts, Falk created detailed maps of imprints left on the ancient hominid's braincase (endocasts) and concluded that the Hobbit was actually a new species closely related to Homo erectus. Falk's team have repeatedly asserted that their findings confirm that the species cataloged as LB1, Homo floresiensis, is definitely not a human born with microcephalia — a somewhat rare pathological condition that still occurs today.