Experiments

These anthropology experiments are designed for you to do at home or school using simple equipment. For some experiments, you may need a calculator. Here is a link to an excellent one provided by Web2.0calc.

To access experiments, click on one of the experiments listed below. In most cases, it is simplest to copy the experiment into a word processing program and then print it out.

Two hands playing with legos

Written by: Amy Peterson

When you put on the mitts and try to build a structure, you will get a sense of how hard it would be to do things that we do every day if our hands were shaped differently.

Compare the size if primate brains in this activity!

Written by: Amy Peterson

The modern human brain is the largest and most complex of any living primate. As you will learn in this activity, it is also larger than the brains of our ancient human ancestors. What does brain size have to do with our biology?
Illustration of lucy shuttle on the way to Trojan asteroids

Written by:

The Lucy Mission will be the first space mission to explore a group of small asteroids known as the Trojan asteroids. We want to engage you in a contest connecting the human ancestor “Lucy” and the exploration of the some of the oldest objects in the solar system—the Trojan Asteroids or “fossils of the Solar System”!
A hand pulls a orange rope through a tube. Shadows in the background look like another person is doing the same thing from far away

Written by: Amy Peterson

Even very young human children can learn simple games such as working together to pull a board. They can also figure out a fair way to share the rewards from cooperating. This activity may seem simple, but humans are the only animals with the ability and desire to work together and negotiate a fair deal in this way.
Two hands holding a straw without using thier thumbs

Written by: Amy Peterson

When you tape down your thumb, you’ll get a sense of how hard it would be to do many things if our hands were shaped differently. Even a simple task like placing a straw in a bottle becomes difficult!

Written by: Amy Peterson

humans have evolved a whole suite of specialized skills to help us survive. Perhaps the most important of these skills was our ability to make and use tools. Did you know that crows use tools, too?

What plants and animals lived with our ancient ancestors?
Answer »

Be part of Ask An Anthropologist

By volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a volunteers page to get the process started.

Donate icon  Contribute