A dinosaur broke a bone, and in our special new lab “Dinosaur Tale: Make No Bones About It,” you’ll investigate how it happened!
Located in LSC’s Our Hudson Home exhibition, this experiment allows you to meet a Maiasaura dinosaur that broke one of its tail bones. Since we can’t time-travel back to the age of the dinosaurs, we’ll have to figure out how the bone broke by using bone pathology.
Bone pathologists study marks left behind on bones when animals heal from an injury or disease.
When a bone breaks, blood rushes to the area to protect and deliver new cells. As the new cells repair the break, a callus made of spongy bone forms. Later, a hard shell of compact bone cells called “osteons” covers the callus.
In this experiment, young learners examine a Maiasaura tail bone with a larger bump caused by a callus, and view osteons through a microscope. They then repair a bone with clay, replicating how a callus forms to repair broken bones!
Next, some physics: young learners use a compression machine to apply force to sticks of different shapes and sizes. This helps them understand it would take a lot of force to break the Maiasaura’s bone.
And then, the young learners apply their new knowledge, using toy dinosaurs to tell a story of how the Maiasaura might have broken its tail. Was it attacked by a hungry carnivore? Did a rock fall from a cliff and hit the dinosaur? Maybe it had a fight with another member of its herd...
Using bones to tell stories --it’s just like being a forensic scientist, but for dinosaurs!
Want to learn more about the Maiasaura? Dig one up this summer in Jack Horner’s Dino Dig! Be sure to stop by June 29 – July 7 for our Dino Days of Summer kickoff event, when the entire building is filled with dinosaur adventures and activities!