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 !

The link between red squirrels and pine martens


As you'll know if you've been following my blog for a while, there are two local animals which I see an awful lot of, despite them being rare in most of the UK. These are red squirrels, Sciurus vulgaris,(which there are loads of around here), and pine martens (which are hard to spot, but I have lots of trail camera footage of them).

Despite them looking slightly alike in the photos above, and both living in trees, they are completely unrelated. Squirrels are part of the rodent family (which have two sharp front teeth, with an orange outer edge), which also includes mice, voles and beavers. Pine marten are bigger, about the size of a small cat. but are from the mustelid family which includes weasels, otters and badgers. But there's one unusual link between them which not a lot of people know about.

The Viking skeletons at Jorvik


I've blogged earlier about my family holiday in England (*), but one of the places we also stopped off at was the Jorvik Viking Centre in York. It's a fantastic visitor centre which shows viking artefacts and skeletons found by archaeologists in what used to be the viking settlement of Jorvik.

One of the things I was particularly looking forward to seeing  were the viking skeletons found in and near York. Both of them had a lot of interesting pathology and diseases, and it's not often that I get to study human skeletons because even though I have been offered human bones, I have strong views on how human remains should be treated, so this was a valuable experience and something I was looking forward to. Here's what I found !

Inglorious: the hidden side of grouse hunting


First of all - a big thank you to everyone who came to hear my talk at Science and More in Gravesend last Tuesday night where I talked about my bone collection, how I started and where it has led me. It was brilliant to see so many people there and have so many interesting questions ! If you'd like to meet me I'm also speaking at the Wigtown Book Festival at the end of September, and the Stornoway Book festival at the end of October.

Anyway, back to this week. Mark Avery has written a book arguing there should be a law on grouse hunting,  how other animals die as a result and how it destroys the moor that the grouse lived on.

Can you guess which bird this is from ?


First of all: remember if you're around Gravesend this Tuesday I'm giving a talk to Science And More at 7pm 6.30pm for 7pm at No. 84 Tea Room and Eatery, 84 Parrock Road. I'll be talking about bones, how I got started, putting together my book and lots more - it'll be great to see you !

Anyway, back to this week. Well, this is an easy skull to identify. From the long beak, thicker than a snipe or an oystercatcher, it's clearly a bird that eats fish, and at 6.5cm long it's clearly the same as my heron skull...wait, did you say 6.5cm ?!?! That's much too small to be a heron.....

Six years of blogging - and a favour to ask


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, 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


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


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 6.30pm for 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


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


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


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....

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