April 1, 2015: Ancient Appetites

Science Pub RVA #23

Ancient Appetites: What our ancestors ate and how we know it

Are you and your friends eating Paleo? Are you sure? Research scientist Dr. Briana Pobiner gave us the skinny on the real lines of evidence that reveal our ancient appetites, dispels myths along the way and discusses food’s role in our evolution

Briana Pobiner, PhD
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Pobiner’s research explores the evolution of the human diet, with a focus on meat-eating. Briana’s fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Indonesia thanks to research support from 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. 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. Briana earned a B.A. in Evolutionary Studies at Bryn Mawr College and her Anthropology MA and PhD at Rutgers University.