Use only food-grade animals for this project. Do not use roadkill or other dead animals from unknown sources, as such animals might have died from diseases. Wear gloves and safety goggles, and use caution when handling bleach and other chemicals. Adult supervision is recommended.
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.
Do you like skeletons? One of the more interesting jobs at a natural history museum is the creation and care of the skeletons and bones. How do the curators clean and put together the skeletons? Many curators use the carrion beetle, Dermestes vulpinus, to quickly clean off the dead animal tissue from a corpse to reveal the skeleton. These insects do such a good job that sometimes the skeleton remains intact! Another method is to slow cook the carcass until the meat falls off. You can use a crock pot to slow cook the meat off of bones from a chicken, quail, duck or goose. You can also find a rabbit or frog at some meat counters. After slow cooking the carcass, you can carefully separate the bones from the meat (which might be tasty). Then you can clean the bones by soaking in full strength household bleach or full strength drugstore grade hydrogen peroxide. Allow the bones to dry thoroughly for several days. Now you are ready to put together one dandy of a jigsaw puzzle! You can use wood glue to put the pieces back together. Good luck, if you finish you can have a very cool skeleton collection!
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If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist
Ever wondered what wild animals do all day, where a certain species lives, or how to make sure a species doesn't go extinct? Zoologists and wildlife biologists tackle all these questions. They study the behaviors and habitats of wild animals, while also working to maintain healthy populations, both in the wild and in captivity.
Forensic Science Technician
Guilty or not guilty? The fate of the accused in court lies with the evidence gathered at the crime scene. The job of the forensic science technician is to gather evidence and use scientific principles and techniques to make sense of it. It can be a grueling and graphic job, but very rewarding. If you like the idea of using science to help deliver justice, then you should investigate this career.
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