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Strange bones #1

Sometimes I find new bones that don't look like anything we've seen before,and we have to look in books and on the internet to try and work out what they are, and sometimes they are really different to what you thought. This skull was like that.

Can you tell what it is ? It took us a while to figure it out. We knew it was a skull, just not which type.

Daddy and I had gone up to a strange vault we found in a forest. When we first found it we weren't that interested in collecting bones, but when we looked into it we could see some bones, and one of them looked like it might be human. Daddy said we could go back and see if we could find some other bones there.

The pit was some kind of old water tank built out of bricks buried on top of a hill in the Pheasant Woods. There used to be some old stone slabs across, but someone had moved them out of the way. Daddy stayed on top and lowered me down and I found that there were tons of old bones, and a lot that we hadn't found before. When I found something interesting, I threw it up to Daddy who put it in the rucksack.

We couldn't work out why the vault was full of bones until much later when we were talking to a gamekeeper. He told us that he puts dead animals in a big pit in the middle of one of his woods to attract foxes, then catches the foxes in traps. The pit is called a stink pit, and foxes go near it because of the smell. That's what we think this vault was used for.

Anyway, we found this skull and didn't know what it was. I thought it looked like a very big rabbit skull, and Daddy didn't think it was a rabbit but he didn't know what else it could be. And it was covered in mud so we just put it in the bag and took it home.

When we got home, we looked at it again. It did look like it might have come from an enormous rabbit but there aren't any rabbits that big. Then we looked at the hole in the back of the skull where the spine goes in, and it was right at the back. Some animals, like deer or rabbits, have the hole more underneath, and others, like foxes and dogs, so in through the back. But this one was different because it went straight in the middle and back of the skull. So we started to wonder what animal it might be if the neck went out in a straight line behind the skull.

We found the answer when we found another bit which we'd collected, which was a bill from a bird. When we put the two pieces together, we saw it was one big bird skull, like a duck, but bigger, 16cm long in total. When we used this website to try and find what bird it was, we found it was a swan. That was pretty cool. Swans are well cool. They have the biggest skull of any bird like this.

Here's what it looked like when we put the two bits together.

You're not supposed to kill swans, because they belong to the Queen. Daddy said that the bones probably belong to the Queen as well, and I said we should give them back, but Daddy says we should give them back if she asks. So if the Queen reads my blog, please email me and I'll take them to the post office.

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