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C.V. Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

Recipes for Change: Our Food, Our Future with the Smithsonian’s Briana Pobiner


Date: February 20 2014 6:30pm

Human Origins Program Research Scientist and Museum Educator, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.


Briana Pobiner has a BA in Evolutionary Studies from Bryn Mawr College, where she created her own major, and an MA and PhD in Anthropology from Rutgers University. Her research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), but has included topics as diverse as cannibalism in the Cook Islands and chimpanzee carnivory. She has done fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Indonesia and has been supported in her research by the Fulbright-Hays program, the Leakey Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, Rutgers University, the Society for American Archaeology, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her favorite field moments include falling asleep in a tent in the Serengeti in Tanzania while listening to the distant whoops of hyenas, watching a pride of lions eat a zebra carcass on the Kenyan equator, and discovering fossil bones that were last touched, butchered and eaten by one of her 1.5 million year old ancestors. She came to the Smithsonian in 2005 to help work on the Hall of Human Origins, got bitten by the “public understanding of science” bug and hasn’t looked back, continuing to do her research while leading the Human Origins Program’s education and outreach efforts. She currently manages the Human Origins Program’s public programs, website content, social media, and volunteer content training.

Pobiner works at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in the Human Origins Program, where she is the Education and Outreach Specialist. She was a member of the core team for the development of the recently opened David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. “I am very dedicated to public understanding of, and engagement with, science - and am beginning to explore doing research into this field as well,” she says.

Cosponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Environment & Society. 



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