Hair Identification

Today in class, students acted as forensic scientists by identifying hair samples!

First, we discussed who actually has hair (only mammals) and some functions of hair on animal bodies (e.g., for UV protection, for camouflage, for sensory tools like whiskers).

Then students examined cards with microscope images of unknown hair samples and compared them with a master key of hair medullas in order to determine the species of each hair sample. Once they were hair experts – and could tell a dog hair from a rabbit hair – we discussed some of the applications for hair identification (scientific study, forensics, etc!).


Estudio forense de pelo

 Hoy en clases, los estudiantes simularon ser científicos forenses al analizar muestras de pelo.

Primero, discutimos sobre quién tiene pelo (sólo los mamíferos lo poseen) y cuáles son algunas de las funciones del pelo en los cuerpos de los animales. Algunos ejemplos de las funciones del pelo son: protección contra rayos U.V, camuflaje, herramienta sensorial (como en los bigotes de un ratón), entre otras.

Durante la actividad, los estudiantes examinaron imágenes microscópicas de muestras de pelo de procedencia desconocida. Luego, compararon estas imágenes con una guía que contenía ejemplos de las médulas de los pelos de distintos animales; y así fueron capaces de identificar a qué especie correspondía cada una de las imágenes de las muestras de pelo. Una vez que adquirieron experticia, los alumnos lograron diferenciar entre muestras de pelo de perro y de conejo.

Algunos estudiantes también tuvieron la oportunidad de examinar bajo el microscopio muestras de pelo real, lo que les permitió comprender que el pelo de cada especie posee características que las hacen únicas.


Does your child enjoy our visits? Please consider supporting our program so we can reach more students!

Lauren Koppel

Lauren earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major of Biology and Psychology from Clark University, and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her undergraduate years, she worked in a evolutionary neurobiology lab that studied the neural development of annelids (marine worms), with a focus on the sox family of genes. Lauren loves learning about how the world works (including everything from biology to chemistry to engineering), and is passionate about sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with others. In the past, she has interned at the Museum of Science, where she educated learners of all ages through hands-on activities, games, and experiments. Other science education organizations with which Lauren has worked include The People’s Science, EurekaFest, and Eureka! of Girls Inc. of Worcester. Currently she lives in Boston, where devotes her free time to playing Quidditch, reading sci-fi novels, playing her ukulele, and enjoying all the culinary delights the city has to offer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Open 7 days INFO
Our Young Pre classroom is for ages. This age group is working