As part of her field work, she camped with anthropologists in Kenya, sifting fossils from dawn until dusk in the Turkana Desert and trekking over the undulating hills of the Baringo Basin and Olorgesailie. She trailed a medical anthropologist studying the health effects of deforestation in Papua New Guinea where the local villagers called her "Missus Belongem Dr. Bill" (in Tok-Pisin, or Pidgin English). She explored the tributaries of the Sepik River in a dugout canoe, climbed volcanic slopes in Java, and ventured into the Aboriginal homeland of Arnhem Land in northern Australia to see ancient rock art.
She has sequenced DNA at Woods Hole, built phylogenetic trees on computers, and logged many hours in dark conference rooms absorbing Power Point charts. The result of all this exploration has been hundreds of news stories and features on topics ranging from the evolution of viruses and DNA to the discovery of fossils of feathered dinosaurs and early human ancestors.
She also has taught science writing in the English Department at Carnegie Mellon University and has written articles for the New York Times, Discover, Insight travel guides, and other publications. Before joining the staff of Science, Gibbons was an award-winning science writer for newspapers in San Diego and Palo Alto, California, where her most memorable assignment was to fly with the Blue Angels at the Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego (and to learn and apply the science of how not to get air sickness).
A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, she was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Science Journalism Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. She is a native of Berkeley, California, but spent many years of her childhood living in Spain (where she went on her first fossil collecting trip at the age of 11), the Netherlands and Japan. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, three children and a dog, all of whom fit in her van.