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Bogs by Amy and Maya

We're Maya and Amy! We heard about a cool traveling exhibit at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History called The Mysterious Bog People. The bog people are actually mummies! The exhibit shows you how things can be preserved in a bog, but we also learned that not everything is preserved in a bog. We have bogs near us in Pittsburgh, so we wondered: What kind of stuff is preserved in a bog?

What did we do?
We took our investigation out into the field-literally! We decided to bury objects-including meat, apple, animal bones, leather, wool, and butter-in a nearby bog, in water, and in regular ground. We wondered if the bog could preserve things better than just in the ground or in water. We also left the same objects exposed to the air. Then we checked the objects after two weeks and after a month to see what happened!

What did we find out?
After two weeks, there was little change in most of the objects. We did find the meat and the apple in the regular dirt and in the air were looking pretty disgusting! But in the bog and in the water, they looked almost unchanged. Then we put everything back and waited for another two weeks to pass. We dug up everything again to take another look. Most of the objects looked about the same as when we first buried them-even the butter! And this time around the meat and the apple in both the air and the dirt were really nasty! But the meat and the apple in the bog were almost like the day we buried them!

What can you do?
  • One way to preserve things is to dry them. Take an apple, slice it in half, and weigh each piece on a kitchen scale. Put one half in a plastic zipper bag. Leave the other half out of the bag, exposed to the air. Set the two apple slices in a dark, dry place for two weeks. Look at the apple pieces again, and weigh them. What changes do you see? The slice that lost the most weight probably dried out more. Is it preserved better than the other slice?
  • Try making a mummy of your own, starting with a fish! Go to the Do It section of the DFTV website for instructions, by clicking here.
  • Use this bogs investigation as a science fair project idea for your elementary or middle school science fair! Then tell us about it!
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Go to the DFTV Boards, and tell us about your science investigation.
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What animal's fingerprints are virtually identical to human's?

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