Dinosaur Bone Experiments

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This activity features two connected hands-on activities about dinosaur bones. Using chicken or turkey bones and regular household items, learners explore the scientific process of studying fossilized bones. By exposing the bones to vinegar or heat, learners begin to understand how paleontologists use chemical processes to study the bones of animals long dead and gone. Use this bone-themed activity around the Thanksgiving holiday and repurpose some leftovers.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:
Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List ()

  • 2 chicken or turkey bones (drumstick or thigh are best)
  • pot of water for boiling
  • jar with lid
  • ordinary white vinegar
  • pan or cookie sheet
  • paper towels


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Dinosaurs
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Acids and Bases
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Center for Technology Innovation, Lawrence Hall of Science


  • All rights reserved, Regents of the University of California, 2005