My book has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young Person's book of the year !
Fingers crossed !
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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 !

My brilliant news, part three....


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 ! 

My brilliant news part two...


This seems to be the week where everything is happening. I've known about this news for a few weeks, but it had to be kept quiet until it was officially announced !

Anyway - I am SO proud that my book has been shortlisted as one of the six contenders in the running for the 2015 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, awarded annually to the best science book for children aged up to 14. (That is, books aimed at people up to 14, not written by them, although mine is both)

The winning book will be chosen by groups of young people from over 100 schools and youth groups across the UK, and will be announced at a dinner in London in November. It's a huge achievement just to be on the shortlist, and it shows how amazing my editor Jo Bourne and publisher Octopus are. Here's the full shortlist.... and I have one more bit of great news this week, and I will announce that in the next few days !

My brilliant news, part one....

Jake's been a busy week !

I did say last week that I had some news to announce: I'm in the BBC Wildlife Magazine's "Power List" of the most influential conservationists. I'm ranked at #40, which is a bit of a surprise since I'm not even one of the top 40 most influential people even in my own house, but thank you to everyone at  BBC Wildlife Magazine for including me, and for the panel of experts for choosing me as well ! And a big congratulations to the other brilliant teenagers Findlay Wilde and Georgia Locock who are on the list - they are both amazing naturalists and bloggers.

I'm appearing tomorrow (Thursday) on BBC Radio Scotland to talk about this with Kaye Adams at 11.30am, which I'm really looking forward to. My second bit of news probably won't be announced until a bit later in the week, possibly even at the weekend. But here's some of the news coverage from this week !

One simple change that could save animals' lives


This is going to be a bit of a busy week for me blogging, because I've got an announcement tomorrow (some of you might know what it's going to be about) and more news on Thursday (bet you don't know that one, though).

Anyway - I thought I would take the opportunity of tomorrow's news to write about something that has been bothering me for a while - something that kills animals, and that could be easily fixed with one small change. And here it is....

The mystery of red/blue 57


I've written before about the odd things I find in the countryside when I'm searching for bones, like 150 year old pottery, old poison bottles or metal propellors and cow hooves.  This week's post is about finding something that will be obvious to some, but will need explaining to others.

These two tags were up on a part of the estate near my village, up close to the castle. It's partly woodland, partly scrub clearings and partly an old fishing lake, and it's petty much unexplored and deserted. More importantly, there are a few red deer down here, as well as roe deer. But when I found these numbered tags, there weren't any deer to be seen - but there was another mystery to be solved.

A week in the woods


As you'll know if you've been reading my blog for a while, I love my trail camera -  a small but durable wildlife cameras that takes video or stills whenever wildlife go by. I've used mine to film pine marten, roe deer, red deer, as well as what was feeding off a roe deer body. Last year I even blogged about everything I learned about using my trail camera.

It's great to have because it shows a lot of unexpected wildlife. When I broke my leg and couldn't walk far, I used to set myself the challenge of sitting in the woods for an hour and recording what I saw. But what could you see if you sat there for a whole week ? Well, just before I went away over Easter, I set up my trail camera in a new wood - and this is what it filmed.

Can you spot what is unusual about this ?


One of the great things about seeing the bones of a particular animal often is that you get to spot when there are minor things which are different. As you will know if you read my blog regularly, the animal I most often see and find are deer, both roe and red deer. That's what this skull is of - a roe - that's the easy bit !

I found it a few weeks ago, and quickly spotted that something was a bit unusual. You probably won't spot it from the photo - unless you really know deer really well - but read on if you want to know what makes this roe deer a little bit special.

What do I see on my daily walk ?


For the last couple of years there's a walk I try and do every day, sometimes twice a day, in winter and summer. It's a popular walk, about three miles long, and you often see other people and joggers out, as well as all the farm and estate vehicles.  So you wouldn't expect to see much wildlife there - or would you ?

When I'm out, I see all sorts from new born lambs to field mice. The walk has loads of trees beside the path that hosts all kinds of animals. I often see red kites or buzzards gliding, stoats, squirrels and deer - and maybe even a kingfisher ! Read on to find out more.

A brilliant find: my first meenyuun skull !


I seem to always have brilliant luck around this time of year in finding skulls: look at what I picked up on my walk last night ! It's my first even meenyuun skull, and this looks like a Meenyuun gru monocular because of the single eye socket, although you tend to find them in groups with the other main European two-eyed variant Meenyuun gru binocular. 

They seem to be fairly widespread across the world, but this is the first I've seen them in Scotland. They are usually quite easy to spot because of their bright yellow colour. It's difficult to judge age from the adult teeth, since all meenyuuns are highly juvenile, but it looks like a young adult. Meenyuuns are frugivores, and feed mainly on apples and bananas, and come from the same Mayduppus family as cranochan, haggis and gruffalo.

Do you have a meenyuun skull ? Leave a comment if you do.

Braco 200: The deserted sawmill


This will be one of a series of posts this year that I will be writing for the history of my village which was founded 200 years ago this year. And I know it's not a great idea for child bloggers to list the place where they live, but it's been mentioned in pretty much every newspaper article about me ever, so it's no great secret.

In my village there is a great walk along farm tracks through one of the big estates near my village. I walk there most days, often first thing in the morning before school or last thing at night to see animals like roe deer, red kite and salmon. Although a lot of people in the village use that walk, only a few know that just a few metres from the track is an amazing old building hidden from view.

Water mills were quite common in the area about 150 years ago, and the force of the water was use to drive something, like a mechanical wood saw or a grain grinder. This building is mostly destroyed, with no roof left, but the huge water wheel remains, half visible. Here is what I found.

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