My book has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young Person's book of the year !
The winner is announced in November - fingers crossed !
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 !



Nine great activity ideas for the summer

Jake
Jake

Summer's here: my school broke up yesterday! (Scottish schools break up before those in the small country to the south of Scotland). I've got a lot of stuff planned for this summer, and I'll blog about those later in the holidays

If you are ever bored and looking for something to do, I have nine great ideas that I'm going to share with you. I have done all of these and they are great fun ways get out with your family during the summer. So here they are....



Nine things I have learned about predation

Jake
Jake


One of the longest experiments I have done recently was recording the decomposition and predation of a fresh dead roe deer. I began it back at the start of December, then moved my trail camera away at the end of spring. In between, I recorded hours and hours of videos of what happened to the body as it was left in the wood. For the first month, the answer was not very much - but the next two months made up for that !

One warning at the start: I know a lot of children read this blog, so be prepared that this post shows a lot of images of decomposition. None of them are too bad (well, one is a bit), but just be warned before you click on any videos...

I'm on BBC Radio Scotland again on Friday

Jake


A very quick post: I'm featured on BBC Radio Scotland's "Out For The Weekend" programme, which will be on tomorrow (Friday) between 2 and 4pm. The whole programme is great to listen to, but my piece will be in the second hour of the programme. It was recorded last Thursday when BBC producer Helen and her son Rasmus (seen in the picture above) came out on a walk with me to find bones. Rasmus is age nine but already has an fascination with bones and is a pretty good naturalist himself.

I was also featured last week in The Big Issue, where I  wrote about how important it is to look for bones, and what you can tell you about the nature around you. It's now up on the Big Issue website here.

A 200th birthday and a surprise visit

Jake

My village, Braco is 200 years old this year, and to celebrate I've already written special blog posts this year about Ardoch House, the sawmill, the Ardoch House murder and the Roman Tunnel, with more to come later in the year.

The high point of this year's celebrations was a  street party yesterday , and the unveiling of a special mosaic which is now on the school wall. I've got a little secret contribution to that mosaic, and as well as a massive surprise last night which has given me lots of new skulls to write about !


Braco 200: The complete history of Ardoch House

Jake

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that Ardoch House is a massive fascination of mine ! It began because I used to search for bones on the old Ardoch Estate, which is the nearest wood to my village, and I discovered the old ice houses there. After I blogged about that in 2011, Mr Forbes in Canada emailed me, because he had visited the old Ardoch estate in 1984 while researching his family history, found the derelict house, but when he came back in 1989 the house had completely vanished !

 I blogged about the mystery of where it had gone in 2012, and did some more research at RCHAMS shortly after. I also blogged about the old Roman Fort, which was next to the house, and how I found an ancient tunnel, as well as researching the Ardoch House murder. Every time I have done a new post I have had emails from people who have been researching their family history, and found a connection to Ardoch House.

Since then I have done a lot of research through newspaper archives, so I decided to put everything I found in one place, which I will update whenever I find something new. I know it's not bones or wildlife - but I'll be back to that with my next post !


Newsround, Radio 4 and the Hunterian

Jake


Since I was named as one of the most influential conservationists by BBC Wildlife Magazine I've been incredibly busy with media things. This last week is probably the last of the main appearances for a bit, but what a week it's been !

On Tuesday CBBC Newsround ran a piece about me that they filmed the week before, and yesterday morning I was live on  BBC Radio 4's on Saturday Live programme with Reginald D Hunter, Andre Anderson and Juliet Russell - after which I met up with my editor Jo and Paolo Viscardi, who was the scientific advisor on my book ! This is how it went....


Where you can find me this week....

Jake

I've got another busy week coming up this week, and this is where you can find me....

  • I was filmed for Newsround last week, talking about BBC Wildlife Power List and showing the amazing Martin Dougan where to find bones. That is set to go out on Wednesday at 4.20pm on CBBC (but might change !)
  • I'm on BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live programme on Saturday at 9.00am. I'll be in the studio at Broadcasting House ( where I was last there for The One Show, just before Christmas).
  • Next Monday A week on Monday I'll have a piece about exploring for bones for the Big Issue's "Pause" column - I think it's in all the UK editions, but will have to check to make sure.
  • And I've got two big talks coming up; one in England in August and one in Scotland in October . I'll post about those nearer the time !
I'll probably do a quick behind the scenes blog post about Newsround and Radio 4 next week, as well as links to watch/listen to the programmes.

Finding the badgers

Jake

For a long time, whenever anyone asked what wildlife lived near me, I always used to say that there were no badgers nearby.  Even though I had often seen badgers dead by the motorway, about 15 miles south of here, I always assumed that there weren't any nearby.

I had asked the local gamekeepers, all of whom denied seeing anything nearby, and I had kept my eyes open but never saw anything even close.  Even after I found the dead badger about a mile from my house, I didn't get much further. It was only in the last few months that I decided to take a closer look...and this is what I found !



Two big BBC appearances

Jake

As you'll know from my last three posts, I had a pretty busy week with doing media things last week. It began with being included on the BBC Wildlife Magazine power list, and I was featured in all sorts of newspapers because of that, then my book was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Award, which brought more publicity as well.

During the week I got two calls, one from BBC Radio Scotland in Glasgow, and one from the BBC Breakfast programme in Manchester. I was happy to agree to both, and this is week's post about what it was like to be behind the scenes there !

My brilliant news, part three....

Jake

Okay, this has been one of the busiest weeks I can remember...I'm even in The Times today (Scottish edition and website)....and to end it, tomorrow (Sunday) morning I'll be on the sofa at the BBC Breakfast studio in Manchester, talking about bone collecting, being on the BBC Wildlife Power List, and about how it feels to have my book shortlisted for the Royal Society Young Person's Book Award !

I'm pretty excited about that. I'll be tweeting while I am down in England (a small country to the south of Scotland) and next week I'll be blogging about what that was like as well as what it was like behind the scenes with my interview with Kaye Adams on BBC Radio Scotland earlier this week ! 




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