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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 6:30pm

Human Origins Program Research Scientist and Museum Educator, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History explains “The Real Paleodiet: What Our Ancestors Ate and How We Know”


imageDr. Briana Pobiner discusses facts, fallacies, and fantasies in our understanding of prehistoric diet. Using a variety of lines of evidence including early human, animal, and plant fossils, ancient stone tools, and living human and chimpanzee diets, she examines significant changes in the evolution of human diets with a focus on the increase in meat-eating starting about 2.6 million years ago and discusses what makes human meat-eating unique.

Dr. Briana Pobiner has a BA in Evolutionary Studies from Bryn Mawr College (1997) and an MA (2002) and PhD (2007) 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 media appearances include NPR and Fox 5 DC. Since joining the Smithsonian in 2005, in addition to continuing her active field, laboratory, and experimental research programs, she leads the Human Origins Program’s education and outreach efforts and manages the Human Origins Program’s public programs, website content, social media, and exhibition volunteer training. Briana is also an Associate Research Professor of Anthropology at the George Washington University. 

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



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