Teen Programs

Crime Scene Neanderthal

Crime Scene Neanderthal Image

You’re invited this summer to visited the American Museum of Natural History and become a Neanderthal Detective! Crime Scene Neanderthal (CSN) will take you and your family on an interactive game through the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins. Investigate DNA, compare fossils, play Neanderthal flutes, and more. Using a combination of exhibits, hands-on cart activities, and augmented mobile games, a trained museum representative will present you with a science-based mystery and offer a variety of approaches for collecting physical, genetic, and cultural evidence to solve it. To play, look for the Saltz Interns carts, beginning on July 5th and running through August 21st, Monday-Friday. There are no costs, no reservations, and no digital tools required. 

For some cool and interesting activities, articles and videos about Neanderthals that you can do at home check out the resources listed below:



Meet a Scientist: CSI with DNA
Get up close with a geneticist as he answers questions about his cool DNA job.
Experiment: You can extract DNA from an onion
Use supplies in your kitchen to separate DNA from an onion in this simple science experiment.
Video: DNA on BrainPOP
Explore the mysteries of DNA with Tim, Moby, and a portable DNA lab!


Meet the Relatives bone comparison
Exactly how are you like a chimp or a Neanderthal? The answers may surprise you!
Experiment: Buried Bones
Clucky you! Here’s how you can make your own chicken bone fossil!
Article: Reconstructing Neanderthals
Read about the reconstruction of a Homo erectus skull and view it in 3-D.
Game: Bone Wars
Attention fossil hunters! Leave no bone unturned in this fun card game.


What Makes You You?
Take a closer look at the skin you’re in!
Game: DNA Detective
How well can you match wild animal DNA codes?
Video: Neanderthal DNA persists in humans
10,000+ years ago, humans left Africa and met up with Neanderthals in Asia and Europe...and look what happened!
Video: Neanderthal DNA sequenced
Those letters spell out one important thing: Neanderthal DNA code.
Activity “Make a DNA model”
What makes you different from a snail, a tree, or even your best friend?


Video: Jelle Atema playing Neanderthal flute reconstructions
Did you know early man played music? Listen up!
You Decide: Artists or Not?
Did Neanderthals paint cave pictures that prove they were great artists?
Activity: If Trash Could Talk
Be a real-life trash investigator in a modified “dig,” collecting cultural clues that matter.


Video: Gel Electrophoresis on Khan Academy
What do we learn by separating DNA and protein fragments?
Article: Can DNA Demand A Verdict?
Examine the importance of DNA in modern crime-solving.


Video: How to tell a rock from a stone tool?
Archaeologists find stones and tools buried together, but how do we tell which is which?
Article: Neanderthal technology and intelligence
Look sharp! Clever Neanderthals chipped off flakes--and shaped their tools wisely.
Video: A demonstration of how Neanderthals might have made tools
Make your own sharp tool from a rock, just like a Neanderthal might have done.


Web site: Fossil Forensics Interactive
Examine bones to find good evidence about how early humans lived--and died.
Article: Characterizing felid tooth marking and bone damage patterns using GIS image analysis
What do bite marks on bones tell us about what happened in Neanderthal times?


Video: What is a fossil?
Fossils are the hard parts of a long-dead organism, plus...what else?
Article: The dating game
There are so many ways to understand, date, and place fossil discoveries.
Puzzle: Layers of Time
Learn the different layers of soil and what it means for fossils underground.
Mobile: MEanderthal App
What if you could see what you looked like mixed up with some Neanderthal DNA?

You can read more about Crime Scene Neanderthal in the Spring 2015 edition of Rotunda.