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Animal Grossology

Science isn’t always neat and tidy — it’s sometimes “GROSS!” Cool, right? Blood, vomit, brains, and owl pellets aren’t things you always want to talk about, but they provide valuable information about animals and how they live.

We can expand the way we think about the world by exploring the interesting world of animals and the so-called “gross” things about them. Explore why vomit is important, pretend to be a bloodsucking parasite, and do some dissecting to learn more about how "grossology" is actually pretty cool!

LIST OF ACTIVITIES

Eat Like a Housefly — Eat Barf!
Blood Sucker’s Swamp
Owl Pellet Dissection
Fake Animal Scat

Objectives

  • Describe why vomiting is beneficial to both humans and other animals.
    Explain how scientists can determine what an animal eats by examining its waste.
    Dissect an owl pellet and reconstruct the bones of the owl’s regurgitated prey.

Materials

Background

Animals are amazing for snuggling and can be excellent playmates — we even keep some animals as pets and love them like our family. But have you ever thought about how your pet’s brain works? How about its bodily excretions? Probably not! Scientists, however, do explore the grosser side of animal physiology and behaviour in order to learn more about them.

Look to the “Introduction” section of each activity for more information about the specifics of:

  • How a housefly uses vomit to feed
  • How leeches travel
  • How we can learn about owl’s diets and habitats by dissecting their pellets
  • How the different parts of the brain function

Other Resources

» Science World at TELUS World of Science | School Workshop | Grossology
http://www.scienceworld.ca/workshopsftg
»Science World at TELUS World of Science | Galleries | BodyWorks
http://www.scienceworld.ca/bodyworks
» Science World | Online Games | BodyWorks
http://www.scienceworld.ca/bodyworks-games
» The Ohio State University | Extension Fact Sheet | Entomology | Domestic Flies
http://www.agri.ohio.gov/Public_Docs/Pest_Study_Material/10d%20Flies%202007.pdf
» Leech Facts
http://www.leeches.biz/leech-info.htm
» The “Grossology” Series: Grossology, Hands-On Grossology, Grossology and You, and Animal Grossology by Sylvia Branzei