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Animals that Live in Pine Cones


Animals that Live in Pine Cones

[30 Minutes]

Conifers, or plants and trees that produce seed bearing cones (pine), have been around since the Paleozoic Era. Conifers are thought to have been the source of food for sauropods, the plant-eating dinosaurs. Conifer trees include fir, pine, redwood, and yew. Some animals actually live in these pine cones. Try this experiment to observe what lives in a pine cone. You will need 7-10 days for this experiment.

You'll need:

• kitchen tongs • kitchen funnel • tweezers • magnifying glass (optional) • 1 large wide-mouth jar • 1 small baby food jar or other small jar, well rinsed and clean • 1 25-watt bulb • a clip on lamp (such as a clip on bed lamp) • paper towel • 2 - 4 pine cones

What to do:

  1. If possible, print out these directions. Read them through together before you begin.
  2. Gather everything you’ll need and always remember science safety.
  3. Use the tweezers to place the small jar inside the larger jar.
  4. Place the funnel in the large jar. The funnel should be large enough so that it sticks over the edges.
  5. Put the pine cones in the funnel.
  6. Place the light about 2 - 4 inches above the pine cone.
  7. Leave the light on for 7 - 10 days.
  8. Remove the funnel. Then remove the small jar.
  9. You will see that animals have fallen into the small jar.
  10. Use the tweezers to place the animals on the paper towels.
  11. You may wish to observe them under a magnifying glass.
  12. When you have finished observing the animals, return them to the outdoors.
  13. You could also try this experiment using different types of pine cones.
  14. Compare the different types of animals that emerge from the pine cones.

Useful information:

My dad and I tried this experiment just for fun. We were very surprised as to what was living in these pine cones. Some of the insects we found were so small we used a magnifying glass to look at them. (Dylan, age 13)

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