Human Evolution: Early Human Diets featuring Briana Pobiner

Briana Pobiner studies a zebra bone in a field

Dr. Briana Pobiner collects information from a zebra bone from a lion kill to help understand the different patterns of damage left by African carnivores on bones when they eat their prey. Image courtesy of Dr. Fire Kovarovic.


The Early Human Diets webcast featuring anthropologist Dr. Briana Pobiner aired March 27, 2014. The link to the archived webcast from the 2 p.m. EDT show is below.

2 p.m. EDT Early Human Diets webcast, featuring Briana Pobiner - archive

Briana's Answers to Student Questions


Dr. Briana Pobiner is an Anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Join her in the discovery of fossil evidence of some of the earliest humans on Earth. Share her excitement about holding an animal bone that was handled by an early human more than 1 million years ago. Consider what you can learn about early humans from cut marks on ancient animal bones. Contemplate the significance of the evolution of meat-eating in humans. See how Briana is helping us better understand the lives of our 1.5-million-year-old ancestors.


Use the related resources below to take your students on a journey to understand how anthropologists study the fossil remains of the earliest humans. Design an assessment for your class.

Lessons Printable, inquiry-based lessons that teachers prepare and facilitate in the classroom using everyday material

Excerpt from an STC Program™ unit from the Smithsonian Science Education Center: Vertebrates and Their Habitats

Click-through Activities Online activities that students can complete independently on classroom computers or at home

Literacy Resources Reading selections to boost science literacy

Science Expert Role Models Links to inspiring science experts at the Smithsonian and beyond

At the National Museum of Natural History A window into what's available at the museum

Q?rius Explore Q?rius, a new way to experience the research, collections, and science at the National Museum of Natural History.

  • Q?rius Page on Human Evolution Featuring scientific experts from the National Museum of Natural History
  • Collections Explore skeletons in Q?rius, digitized for investigation from your classroom or at home.

Misconceptions Resources that reveal potential student misconceptions


The Human Evolution Webcast Package supports students in meeting the NGSS Performance Expectations listed below by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills.

MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • MS-LS1-1 Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
  • MS-LS1-4 Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-1. Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
  • MS-LS4-2. Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships. 


The Human Evolution Webcast Package supports students in meeting the Social Studies listed below by offering a set of resources that integrate anthropology concepts with anthropology skills. 

People, Places, and Environments

  • The study of people, places, and environments enables us to understand the relationship between human populations and the physical world.  
  • During their studies, learners develop an understanding of spatial perspectives, and examine changes in the relationship between peoples, places and environments.