facebook Comparative Anatomy Activity for Kids - Owl Pellet Dissection DIY
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Comparative Anatomy Activity for Kids

Owl Pellet Dissection DIY

  • Duration: 45-60 min
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Cost: $10

Learn how to search for bones in an owl pellet and compare your skeleton to that of a rodent.

Material List

  • 1Pair of Tweezers
  • 1Popsicle Stick
  • 1White Piece of Paper
  • 1Sterilized Owl Pellet, you can buy online for under $10
  • 1Bone Identification Chart, usually comes with the owl pellet

Instructions

  • 1Open your sterilized owl pellet on top of the white piece of paper.
  • 2Use the Popsicle stick to gently break apart the pellet.
  • 3Use the tweezers to pick up and examine the bones that are in the broken-up pellet.
  • 4Lay the bones out on the piece of paper and use the bone identification chart to sort and arrange the bones by animal.
  • 5Once sorted, you can observe and see some similarities between the bone structures of rodents and humans.

How It Works

Since owls don’t have teeth, they swallow their prey whole. The undigested bones and fur are then regurgitated as a pellet, which is a great place to look for the bones of rodents. A rodent's bone structure, along with many other organisms, are very similar to humans. For example, the arm of both a rodent and a human have the same pattern: One bone in the upper arm, connected to two bones in the forearm, which is connected to a bunch of little bones in the wrist, and those bones are connected to fingers. This is one piece of evidence that we may be related.

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