Paul Dirks is a structural geologist with an interest in geodynamics and tectonics including mineralization patterns and Neotectonics. Paul holds an MSc in geology from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands (1987) and a PhD in geology from the University of Melbourne (1990). Paul is Professor and Head of School at James Cook University. Before that paul was Head of the School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Together with Prof. Lee Berger, Prof. Dirks recognised the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to finding new fossil sites in the Cradle, and in early 2008 they devised a plan to systematically investigate cave occurrences and to link them to active tectonic processes and structure in an attempt to better understand, and possibly predict, cave, and fossil distribution patterns. This mapping and data compilation project led to the discovery of the Malapa site in August 2008. Once discovered, Prof. Dirks took responsibility for leading the geological team in providing context to the spectacular new fossil finds.
Paul has authored and co-authored over 70 peer reviewed papers, 58 professional reports and over 120 abstracts, CD’s, mineral data bases and excursion guides.