Looking for a brilliant present for a young naturalist ? Buy my book ! Available from Amazon UK,
Amazon US and worldwide but buy from a local bookshop if you can.
Looking for a brilliant present for a young naturalist ? Buy my book ! Available from Amazon UK,
Amazon US and worldwide but buy from a local bookshop if you can.
Welcome to Jake's Bones - my blog all about bone collecting !

My name is Jake McGowan-Lowe, and I'm a thirteen year-old naturalist and bone collector from Scotland. I've been collecting skulls and bones since I was six, and I now have hundreds of amazing skulls and thousands of other bones.

I began blogging about bones when I was seven and ever since then every single weekend I have written something new here (over 350 posts so far !) Mostly it's about skulls or bones that I've found, but sometimes it's about places I've explored or wildlife that I see on my walks. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it !



Who has been eating the roe deer ?

Jake

Two weeks ago I blogged about a roe deer carcass which I found in a new red deer wood. I set up my trail camera on the body, expecting to quickly film predators, but by the time I wrote the first blogpost,  hardly anything had come at all, and the body was intact.

Since then, the body has been moved three times, and predation has begun. Of the predators so far, two were expected, one animal I thought would be a predator doesn't seem to be interested, and one other predator has turned up which was a BIG surprise !


A surprise box from Alaska

Jake
Jake

It has been extremely wintery here in Scotland for the last few days. Earlier in the week we had six inches of snow overnight: then the next day, we had double that, followed by a storm Even the pine marten's nest was destroyed in a storm last week (luckily the pine marten is okay though, here's a video of it yesterday !).

Many animals are really adapted for living in cold climates, and it doesn't get much colder than Alaska, one of the US states which is up besides Canada. A very kind man called Mr McDonough who works for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game contacted me last summer, asking me if I was interested in any skulls from his area. All of the skulls he suggested were amazing, like a moose and a coyote, but there were practical (and legal !) difficulties with such a big gift. Then this box arrived - read on to see what was inside !



The death experiment

Jake
Jake

One of the most common emails I get in my inbox is: "How long does it take for a body to decompose ?" (Yep, my inbox can be a bit weird at times). But this is useful to know, because if you find a half decomposed body you can work out when it died, and when the bones should be clean by. So here's my expert answer based on all my years of experience:

I don't know. 

I don't know because it all depends on so many different factors that it's almost impossible to tell. I've seen a juvenile red deer which was reduced to white bones in three months, or the badger had still had most of its skin intact after eight months, and it depends on weather, size of the animal, temperature, and all sorts of things. This week's post is about an experiment I have been doing to try and learn more about how long decomposition takes. (Warning: it's a bit yucky in parts !)

Goodbye 2014, hello 2015 !

Jake



At the end of each year I have been blogging I have written a post about how the year went, things I have learned or what I am looking forward to for the next year. It's good to take some time out to look at the year, see what I have achieved and sometimes what I would have done differently.

It's also interesting looking back at these, because never in my wildest dreams would I have expected a year like 2013, in which I have achieved far more than I could have imagined. Read on to see what lessons I have learned this year !


Happy Christmas everyone !

Jake

Happy Christmas ! There is not much snow here at the moment but there is some forecast for later today. This pic was taken at a hidden pond in the Pheasant Woods when we had snow a few weeks ago.


I am hoping to get archery lessons next year, so that will be my main present. I'm hoping to get out on walks a bit, and do some more exploring, and to check my trail camera (I got footage of a goldcrest yesterday). I hope you all have a nice Christmas and you get what you want ! I'll post again on New Year's Eve with my round-up of my year.

PS. This is also my 350th blog post ! That's pretty amazing. Here's to the next 350 !

The 19-year, 1,700 mile mystery

Jake
Jake



One of the things that I have learned while being a bone collector is how much you can sometimes learn about an animals life even from a single bone. You can tell if it died old (bones get slightly lighter in old age, and extra fusion occurs) or young, if it was healthy or if it had any injuries, and sometimes whether it was male or female (sometimes from the size or muscle attachments).

I had to put these skills to the test last week when me and my friend Jacob found a very unusual bone a 150 year old ice house. I have blogged about finding cool bones here but none quite as interesting as the one I found last week - or with as much information about the animal they came from !

Guest post: The body on the beach !

Jake


I hardly ever do guest posts here, but when Sophie Bagshaw told me this story, I thought it was definitely worth a post ! Sophie is 17 and is a brilliant naturalist and birdwatcher, and we met up over the summer when we both accidentally discovered we were on holiday and about 50 yards from each other ! Anyway, here's her story ! - Jake.

A couple of Sundays ago, me and my mum went on our usual trip to Cockerham, part of the coastline in the North West of England, and my favourite place ever. I have found many a treasures washed up in the shore, but I never expected to find what I did that day !


The One Show, and meeting Sir David

Jake


As most of you will know, this has been quite an amazing week for me, because a film I shot with Ben Garrod at Bristol Museum earlier this year was being shown on BBC1's The One Show - and not only that, but also I was invited down to the studio to appear live on the sofa with Sir David Attenborough !

I know a lot of my readers are outside the UK, so it's worth saying that The One Show is a very big show over here: it goes out live from Broadcasting House in London at 7pm on BBC1 every weekday, and is watched by about 5.2million people (or about the whole population of Scotland !) The One Show had made all my travel arrangements for me, so this is how my day went !



Filming a bone mystery for The One Show

Jake

BBC presenter Ben Garrod and I had been talking for a while about maybe doing something together, and earlier this year we finally got the chance with a piece being shown on tonight's The One Show (BBC1 at 7pm !)....AND.... I'm going to be live in the studio  with Sir David Attenborough (one of my heroes !) to discuss the clip  !

I love bone mysteries, and the one in Bristol was a brilliant one. During WW2, Bristol Museum was bombed, and when the damage was being cleaned up, bones were just thrown together in whatever box came to hand. Now, 70 years later, one of these boxes were being opened by curator Bonnie Griffin, and Ben and I were on hand to work out what was in there !

Look out for me on The One Show tonight !

Jake


Okay, so a MASSIVE announcement ! Watch The One Show on BBC1 at 7pm tonight (Monday) to see me, bone expert Ben Garrod and curator Bonnie Griffin investigating an 70-year old bone mystery at Bristol Museum. And I'll be in the studio live afterwards to talk about bones with the amazing Sir David Attenborough !

I'm travelling down from Scotland to BBC Broadcasting House in London for the live show, but I'll be tweeting as I travel. At 7pm there will be a blog post here about the behind the scenes filming, and later in the week I'll blog about what it was like at the One Show studio meeting Sir David.




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