Did you see me on The One Show with Sir David Attenborough and Ben Garrod ?
If you're in the UK you can watch it on iPlayer here (about 12 mins in)
Looking for a Christmas gift ? 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 300 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 !

The 19-year, 1,700 mile mystery


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 !


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


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


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 !


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.

Bog men and strange decomposition


BIG NEWS - I've a big announcement on Monday at 8am: check out my blog post then !

From collecting bones, I know quite a lot about decomposition. When an animal dies, the soft tissue, sinew and organs start to break down, releasing bacteria that eventually break down everything except the bones and cartilage. Often you can find the entire skeleton lying in the same position it had been inside the body.

 But what if it happened the other way around ? What if the bones decomposed and the soft tissue remained - maybe even for thousands of years ? It may sound completely strange, but dad told me  about something he saw when he visited the National Museum of Ireland while he was giving a talk in Dublin. These are the "bog people", and what happened to their bodies is stranger than fiction.

A gruesome find and a new mystery

Warning: Most of the posts I write are suitable for young children, but this one is slightly more gruesome and sad, so parents of younger children might want to read this first, since it raises other issues they might not have discussed with them yet.

The wood where this week's story took place is a wood that I would not usually look for bones. Unlike the huge dark pine forests with earth floors where I normally look for bones, this one  is a thin strip of deciduous trees (the leaves fall off, unlike pine trees) where grass grows. Open woods like this are more difficult to find bones, partly because they don't offer much protection to animals like deer, and also because if an animal dies there, the grass and leaves quickly cover up their skeletons

 But the reason that I was in this wood was because I had left my trail cam there for the past week to see what animals passed through there. Dad and I walked up there an hour before sunset to see what had been recorded, but I ended up finding something completely unexpected.

17 great Christmas gifts for bone collectors


This week I have been writing my Christmas list, which got me thinking about what presents would be a good choice for anyone who likes nature, especially people my age. 

There are loads of great gifts out but I have picked my top 17 (for all ages). They go from stocking fillers for a couple of pounds to great experiences for hundreds of pounds, but all of them are pretty amazing and would definitely put a smile on someone's face !

Close up with Stegosaurus !


Of all the dinosaurs, Stegosaurus is one of the easiest to recognise.  This two-ton monster had 17 spiky plates on its back, could beat you to death with its tail, and last weekend I got to see one ( as a skeleton obviously, I don't have a time machine.) 

Stegosaurus lived about 150-155 million years ago, and skeletons have mainly been found in America with one in Europe. The first fossil was found in 1877 and it was named a stegosaurus, which in Greek means "covered lizard", because of the armour along the spine. Read on to find out more !

Is this a pine marten on my trail camera ?


As you know, I've been filming with my trail camera for about a year now. I got this video last night, with my camera which is filming a spot just outside an overgrown disused graveyard in the middle of a wood. But it isn't clear and I need some help working out what it shows ! 

Keep a close eye on the bottom of the wall on the left. Is that a pine marten ? You can hear something as well, but it's very indistinct, so you'll have to turn your sound up. 

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