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Ancient bones, modern problems: One scientist's trash is another scientist's data


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Learn how scientists reuse and upcycle their data, while following graduate student Maria Viteri as she investigates ancient and modern small mammal communities.



Life Science, Nature and Process of Science

20 minutes

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Raw data must be analyzed and interpreted before we can tell whether a scientific idea is likely to be accurate or inaccurate.

  • Scientists try to be objective and work to identify and avoid bias.

  • Different scientists may interpret the same data in different ways; data interpretation can be influenced by a scientist's assumptions, biases, and background.

  • Researchers share their findings with the scientific community through scientific publications.

  • Scientists aim for their studies to be replicable.

  • Science depends on communication within the scientific community.

  • Scientists scrutinize each other's work through peer review and other processes.

  • Scientists are influenced by their personal experiences and cultures.

  • Scientific research is often focused on topics with the potential to help meet societal needs.

  • Scientific knowledge informs public policies and regulations that promote our health, safety, and environmental stewardship.

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