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Teeth Telling Tales: Fossils Uncover Ancient Ecosystems

from Cleveland Museum of Natural History

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Join us as we replicate a day of research with Dr. Darin Croft, Paleontologist with Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Specializing in mammals that went extinct millions of years ago, Dr. Croft’s work launches this lab experience illustrating how careful measurements of fossil teeth can help scientists build a picture of entire ancient ecosystems. Using real diagnostic equipment and casts of specimens found during recent South American fieldwork, your amateur Paleobiologists will learn how ancient teeth tell tales!

NOTE: A necessary kit of materials will be sent to you for use during the program. Please open the kit before our connection and check it against the Inventory List. A pre-paid UPS label will be included for you to attach to the kit once secured for return to CMNH.

Program Rating

   based on 4 evaluation(s).

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About This Program


By Request: $200.00

$30 kit shipping charge is included in the basic program fee above.

(if booking multiple programs, this kit can be reused and only 1 shipping charge will be applied).

Discounts available for 5 or more programs booked at the same time,


We prefer 1 full hour for this program.

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Minimum participants:

No minimum!

Maximum participants:

We recommend no more than 30 students per program.

Primary Disciplines


Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)

Booking Information

There is a kit of materials we need to send to your location for use during the program; please call with some flexibility in dates to allow for shipping times.

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

We will not charge for programs cancelled due to events out of your control (snow, hurricane, mass extinctions, etc.). This program is dependent on a kit of materials that we will ship to you; make sure that you book with enough time for UPS to make the delivery!

About This Provider

Content Provider logo


Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Cleveland, OH
United States

Our Mission Statement: To inspire, through science and education, a passion for nature, the protection of natural diversity, the fostering of health, and leadership to a sustainable future.
CMNH programs address appropriate Revised Ohio Academic Content Standards in Science and Social Studies, and the National Health Education Standards.

Education Division

Program Details


1.) Students are arranged in 6 research groups.
2.) Groups are shown a short video introducing Paleobiologist Darin Croft and his research.
3.) Students practice use of calipers and how to measure tooth casts for height & width.
4.) Groups measure their casts & fill out their worksheets.
5.) Groups are asked to use their results to match ancient mammals with possible ecosystems.


Students will:
• Practice the proper use of lab equipment, including digital calipers & museum specimens.
• Describe how studying extinct animals helps illustrate how species and ecological communities have evolved over millions of years.
• Explain how this information can help improve conservation efforts focused on saving species and ecological communities today.
• Investigate how animal populations are affected by food supply.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

Please see Ohio State Standards below.

State Standards

Life Science
Grade 4 Science: Life Science-Earth’s Living History
•Fossils can be compared to one another and to present day organisms according to their
similarities and differences.
Grade 5 Science: Life Science-Interconnections within Ecosystems
•Organisms perform a variety of roles in an ecosystem.
Grade 8 Science: Life Science-Species and Reproduction
•Diversity of species occurs through gradual processes over any generations. Fossil records provide evidence that changes have occurred in number and types of species.