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Collection Tier:
Tier 3

Grand River Watershed ➔ Sturgeon Scute

Scutes refer to the hard  structures that cover the exterior of an animal (turtle, crocodile etc.).  It generally refers to a thickened horn or bony plate.   These Scutes appear to be from a sturgeon species.    Lake Sturgeon contain five rows of Scutes.   They are the primary defense for sturgeon as most of their body is cartilage.  Scutes and dermal plates are some of the only remnants of sturgeon that are found in archaeological sites. This scute was found in the Grand Rapids Public Museum's collections in 2016 and is likely from a Lake Sturgeon, possibly even one from the Grand River.
Current Location Status:
Education Program
Museum Collection

Science Tuesday: Grand River Watershed (March 2017)
Science Tuesdays is an ongoing educational experience, offering science programming based on changing themes each month. Science Tuesdays take place throughout the day on Tuesdays at the Museum and include a variety of activities and interactive displays.

Discover: What's in your Watershed? (October 22 2019)

Students will learn to examine exhibit content and specimen to learn about the Grand River Watershed and some of the special species that call this place home. We will focus on the distinction between native and invasive species, as well as the issues facing threatened and endangered species in the region, namely threatened wild rice and lake sturgeon and endangered snuffbox mussels.

Student Objectives

  • Students will be able to describe a watershed and the interconnections of species within watersheds, including how native and invasive species interact and impact each other.
  • Students will be able to identify examples of risks organisms face in their environments, as well as possible reasons that species may become threatened.
  • Students will propose solutions to mitigate the risks against threatened and endangered species.

Curriculum Connections

  • NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: Engineering Design; From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes; Unity and Diversity; Earth’s Systems; Earth and Human Activity
  • NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Asking Questions and Defining Problems; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.
  • Michigan K-12 Social Studies Standards: G1 The World in Spatial Terms: Geographical Habits of Mind, G2 Places and Regions, G3 Physical Systems, G5 Environment and Society, P1 Reading and Communication, P2 Inquiry Research and Analysis

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