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 !



Six years of blogging - and a favour to ask

Jake


In all the excitement in all the past few weeks, I actually forgot that on 21st July it was the anniversary of six years since I wrote my very first blog post ! That one was about a broken swan skull, that I wrote about here. A lot has changed since then, as you can see from the photos above, but I still get excited every week to share something new with you here.

As it's my blog birthday (sort of), I would like to ask you a special favour. I have never entered any blog awards before, because the people that make up the categories seem to forget about wildlife and natural history. But these ones are different, because they are organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine (which listed me as one of the top 50 conservation heroes in the UK a few months ago).

You can nominate any blog which appears here. There are eight categories, but the one most appropriate to me is "Best Young Blogger.  If you think I deserve the award - and I hope you do ! - all you need to do is email wildlifemagazine@immediate.co.uk, with the subject line "BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards nomination". In the email you'll need to name this blog ("Jake's Bones by Jake McGowan-Lowe") and the category ("Best young blogger") and that's it ! Thank you !

Kelvingrove Museum's fundraising appeal

Jake

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow is my favourite museum. I've been going there for as long as I can remember, and it's full of great art and hosts more then 8,000 exhibits in a beautiful old building just out of the centre of Glasgow. It's always in the top three free (all public museums are free in Scotland) visitor attractions in Scotland, and I've blogged about visiting it last year, as well as blogging about one of its dinosaur exhibits.

That's why I was delighted to help them out with their fundraising appeal to revamp the West Court in the museum - one of my favourite spaces, full of fantastic natural history exhibits, skeletons, and topped off with a suspended Spitfire flying through the gallery. This is how I was helping out with the publicity yesterday - and why I hope it will help raise £10,000 towards putting new exhibits on show ! Read on to find out more about my day, and how you can help...


Three places to catch me over the summer

Jake


This week's post was going to be a longer one - but it's taken longer than I thought to research, and my cousins are over to stay this weekend, so instead here's quick note of where you can hear me talk over the summer and autumn !

On Tuesday 11th August at 7pm, I'm giving a talk to Gravesend Skeptics In The Pub Science And More Club, at No. 84 Tea Room and Eatery, 84 Parrock Road, Gravesend.  Here's their website.

On Sunday 27th September between 11am-3pm (and this time may possibly change) I'm in the Children’s Festival Area, The Discovery Tent at the Wigtown Book Festival in Dumfries & Galloway. More details will be here in a week or so. It's a drop in session rather you can just call in and meet me, get your book signed,  and ask questions about bones - I'll have lots with me !

Then on Saturday 30th October at 5pm I'm excited to be giving a talk at Faclan Hebridean Book Festival, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. Tickets will be available from September from here.

If you can make any of these - it'll be brilliant to meet you !

Finally in November, the winner of the Royal Society Young Persons Book Of The Year is announced (my book is on the shortlist of six). I know all the children's groups who are judging the books have been doing a lot of hard work, and have been encouraged to ask questions  on this Ask The Author page. (I've been replying, but for some reason the Royal Society haven't been publishing my replies yet). So if you have any questions you'd like to ask me about my book, you can do it here !

Exploring the shoreline

Jake
Jake

Last year I went with my family on holiday for a few days on the west coast of England, which is a small country to the south of Scotland. It was a quiet spot, but it was next to the beach and as I live about as far away from the sea as it is possible to get in Scotland, I was hoping to go beach combing and to look at the wildlife.

This year I was back there again for four nights - but this time I had an expert guide in Sophie Bagshaw, who is a pretty cool naturalist herself. We spent most of that time on or near the beach - and this is what I learned and found !

Learning about Tyrannosaurus

Jake

I've had a lot of T-Rex action this week. I was planning to write this post anyway, but while I was away on holiday there was this tyrannosaurus skeleton nearby (above), and my brother Sam bought a model of a T-Rex skeleton as well - and I saw Jurassic World at the cinema today ! 

 Tyrannosaurus is the biggy - one of the largest land predators ever known, one of the most studied (because lots of specimens have been found), and the best known dinosaur. Bone evidence is often the only way to understand how they lived - but this week's blog post is about something I've always found a bit weird about them.



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 !





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