Research Scientist and Museum Educator, Human Origins Program, National Museum of Natural History
Briana Pobiner is a paleoanthropologist whose research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), but has included topics as diverse as human cannibalism 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. Since joining the Smithsonian in 2005 to help put together the Hall of Human Origins, in addition to continuing her active field, laboratory, and experimental research programs, she leads the Human Origins Program’s education and outreach efforts which includes managing the Human Origins Program's public programs, website content, social media, and exhibition volunteer training. Briana has also more recently developed a research program in evolution education and science communication. She is the recipient of the 2021 American Association of Biological Anthropologists and Leakey Foundation Communication and Outreach Award in Honor of Camilla Smith, and a 2021 National Center for Science Education Friend of Darwin award.
Briana has a BA from Bryn Mawr College (1997), where she created her own major called Evolutionary Studies, and an MA (2002) and PhD (2007) in Anthropology from Rutgers University. Briana is also an Associate Research Professor of Anthropology in the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology at the George Washington University.