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Tooth Detectives: Determining the Diets of Extinct Animals
In this two-part activity students examine the teeth of living mammals to try to determine the animal's feeding habits and then apply skills learned to the interpretation of the diet of extinct animals. During this activity students will recognize that teeth display a variety of shapes, and that tooth shapes are correlated with specific ways of obtaining and processing food. They will be able to recognize the dietary habits of living animal species through the examination of their teeth, and hypothesize what the diets of extinct animals were through the examination of fossil teeth.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Intermediate (3-5)
  • Middle (6-8)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
Subject:
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Paleontology
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright and other restrictions information is unknown
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-008-491
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • K-4:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Form and function
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • C - Life science:
        • Characteristics of organisms
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Form and function
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
      • C - Life science:
        • Structure and function in living systems
Related resources:
This resource is part of 'K-12 Earth Science'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contributor: Society for Sedimentary Geology
http://www.sepm.org/

Author: James W. Westgate
Department of Geology
Lamar University

Contact: Carol Mankiewicz
Beloit College