Secrets in Skeletons
Hosted by: UT Austin Texas Memorial Museum
Visit our Booth: Saturday, March 6, 2021, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Recommended Grades: 3rd, 4th, 5th
The Challenge: Explore fossils, bones, and teeth from home. Watch our video to discover how shapes, sizes, and features of skeletons tell us about animal adaptations for life in the past and present. Compare your skeleton to those of other animals.
Recommended Materials: Printed or digital copies of photos or diagrams of the skeletons of animals. Find your own on the internet or in books or download a set of skeleton diagrams from our website or below.
How does this activity connect to STEM and today’s Girl Day theme of Exploring Earth and Energy? Paleontologists learn about the history of life on Earth by investigating the fossil record. By comparing the skeletons of living animals to the fossilized remains of extinct animals, paleontologists are often able to determine how an animal moved, what it ate, and how it could sense its surroundings.
Paleontologists really know their sciences, especially geology and biology. Paleontologists work in a variety of places, including:
- Museums and Universities
- Medical, Dental, and Veterinary schools
- Federal, State and Local Government: park rangers, resource managers
- Industry: Environmental consulting, oil & gas companies
Explore TMM's Hall of Geology and Paleontology with Dr. Pamela Owen as she shows you what clues to look for when studying bones and teeth.
One of the best ways to learn about animal skeletons is to start with your own! Check out the videos on our Secrets in Skeletons playlist for an introduction to the human skeleton with TMM Volunteer and health professional, Marc Frazier. Then compare a human skeleton with another familiar mammal, a raccoon.
Make your own skeleton-inspired artwork using natural materials - watch video below
Sing a song of bones with TMM's Visitor Services Manager and musician, Ben Grall - watch video below
Download a set of skeleton diagrams from our website to practice identifying bones in extinct animals.
We recommend Animal Diversity Web (Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan) as a source for photos of extant animal skulls and teeth.
Compare primate skeletons on the eSkeletons website, hosted by UT Austin's Department of Anthropology.
Biodiversity is the variety of life, and it has been an important component of the educational programming at Texas Memorial Museum (TMM) from the first day we opened our doors to the public in 1939. TMM works to create awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the past, present, and future of biological diversity, especially that of the state of Texas. Our mission is to inspire a life-long interest in science and nature.
TMM offers a variety of online resources:
- Have your fossil finds identified by email! Send photos and location information to TMMinfo@austin.utexas.edu
- Create your own tour of the museum from home with free downloadable podcasts and transcripts from our audio tour
- Download activities for home and classroom from our Curriculum Content page