As of February 2016, after 416 posts, and over six and a half years of blogging, I'm taking a break.
I've explained why here. There's plenty of past posts to read, though - hope you enjoy them !
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.

Two walks and some new bones

This week the weather has been better, so after school I have been on two bone walks again. Two days ago I went a bone walk to Tam Breck wood with daddy. My dad saw a roe buck but it ran away fast do I didn't see it, and further on we saw two roe in the fields. Then we found this rabbit skull.

The first bones I collected were rabbit bones, and I still collect them if they're good enough. I have about ten rabbit skulls, and it's really easy to find lots of them, but not many are in good condition like this with all the teeth, the nose bones, and the brain case. That's because whatever kills them, like a fox, often bites the skull as well.

There were lots of rabbit skeletons around there. Here is one that is interesting because you can see all the bones in the right order, with the back legs, the pelvis, the spine and even some of the ribs. We didn't bring this one back, though.

At the edge of a lake nearby we found this. It looks like a duck but might be a goose. We took the head, because it was already rotted and mainly bones, even though we already have a duck skull and a goose skull.

Here is another skull we found and took It is old and very bashed but still has the black bit of skin that covers the bill. We're not sure what it is yet. This website says the only skull about that size is from a Tundra Bean Goose, but that has an orange bill, not a black one, and I don't think it comes to this part of Scotland. Maybe it's another type of skull, but is a baby, so it's smaller.

On Friday, after school, Daddy, Mummy, me and my friend Innes went to another wood, which has red deer in it. We met a gamekeeper who told us that he was about to hunt some deer in one part of the wood, so we agreed to go to another part. When we were deer spotting, we saw a big red hind with a fawn that was really small in the forest. We also found two really interesting skulls.

This is a red deer stag skull. It is interesting because it has an extra top tooth, sort of inbetween the three premolars and the three back molars. I don't know how it happened like that.

There are three reasons why this next skull is interesting. Mainly, it only has one antler. The antler is as big as a five or six-pointer would be, but it doesn't have any branches or tines. That means the antler has grown wrong. That sometimes happens with some deer. The gamekeeper saw this skull and said that it sometime happens in old deer. I think it wasn't that old because the teeth were still sharp.

The last reason it has only one antler is because I maybe think it only ever had one antler and never had two antlers because one of the pedicles (the bit of the skull that the antlers grow from) wasn't there, or maybe it was broken.

It's hard to see because the skull is dirty and has got moss on it, but we brought it home to clean up and have a closer look. I'm going to keep this skull, and my friend Innes is going to keep the one with the extra tooth.

Enjoy this post ? Share it !


Anonymous said...

Hi Jake, I was just looking at a book called "Colyer's Variations and diseases of the teeth of animals" (the 1990 edition) and I noticed on page 114 that there is a Muntjac with an your extra tooth similar to your red deer. This is a genuine extra tooth - not just a baby tooth that hasn't been properly replaced. The muntjac also has a prominent extra buccal ridge on the 2nd molar on the opposite side. I don't suppose your red deer has a similar feature?

By the way, well done on identifying the fox in the box!

Jake said...

I don't think so - I got back the skull from my friend Innes and had a look. The 2nd molar looks the same on both sides and all the other teeth look normal. Here's a picture. What do you think ?

Anonymous said...

You're right - no extra ridge. I think that the extra tooth is an actual extra tooth though - rather than an emerging adult P3 or improperly replaced deciduous P3. I can only make out two cusps on both and the deciduous P3 has three cusps.

Jake said...

Are you sure that the baby third premolar in the top jaw is supposed to have three cusps ? I knew about the three at the bottom jaw, but thought it had two at the top when a baby. I just looked at my eleven month old red deer skull while having dinner (really) which has only got four teeth through, and the bottom premolar 3's have three cusps but the two in the top part have only got two.

It's cool to have found a skull that's a bit special, even if it's Innes's now.

Jake said...

Ah, I see what you mean, though, now I've looked at it beside an adult red skull. The extra tooth can't be a baby tooth, because baby premolar 3s have two cusps, but this extra one has just one.

Jake said...

Baby *top* premolar 3's I mean.

Free counters!