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Smithsonian Science How Webcast

How Bones Reveal Environmental Health

In this video, physical anthropologist Dr. Sabrina Sholts explains how the environment leaves its mark on bones.


Meet Dr. Sabrina Sholts, an anthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History. What information can an expert read from a skeleton? See how Sabrina studies skeletons, particularly human skulls, to understand environmental health. Learn about how a variety of environmental pollutants can affect bone and tooth formation. Get a glimpse into the technology used to analyze bones for evidence of chemical exposure. Understand how the science of bioarchaeology links the past to the present through evidence recorded on ancient bones. This show aired Feb. 11, 2016.tionship between peoples, places and environments.



National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Life Science


From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • MS-LS1-1Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells, either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
  • MS-LS1-5Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
Physical Science


Matter and Its Interactions
  • MS-PS1-2Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.


Time, Continuity, and Change

  • Studying the past makes it possible for us to understand the human story across time.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the past enable us to analyze the causes and consequences of events and developments, and to place these in the context of the institutions, values and beliefs of the periods in which they took place.
  • Knowing how to read, reconstruct and interpret the past allows us to answer questions such as: How do we learn about the past? How can we evaluate the usefulness and degree of reliability of different historical sources?

People, Places, and Environments

  • The study of people, places, and environments enables us to understand the relationship between human populations and the physical world.  
  • During their studies, learners develop an understanding of spatial perspectives, and examine changes in the relationship between peoples, places and environments.

All Q?rius Resources for These Standards

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