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The surprise biscuit tin of bones


About a month ago I got a surprise card from the postman to say that he had tried to deliver a parcel to me. I had no idea who it came from, but it was an amazing surprise that showed how kind some people are. There are lots of reasons why this has taken me a month to write this, and one of them is very important and I will write about it more next week. But this week is exciting enough !

When Mum collected the parcel the address wasn't the full one at all. There was no street or postcode, and it just said "The Animal Bones Man, Jake McGowan-Lowe, Braco, Perthshire". That was very strange ! My village isn't very big but even so it's amazing it arrived !

When I opened the parcel there was a biscuit tin inside. Inside the tin were lots of skulls !

There was also a letter and a newspaper clipping from the month before when I found the world war II bomb.

The letter said that the sender had read about me in the newspaper. He was a deerstalker who had retired, and who had collected bones he found from the hills. He said "Time to get rid of 'em before relatives them put them in the bin, and who better than you, a young youth and his wacky collection".

Here were the bones that were inside the tin:

There was an adult badger skull that had sellotape round the jaws. It was quite dirty.

This is what it looked like with the tape off:

There was another badger skull that looked younger. The jaws hadn't fused at the front like most badgers and most of the top teeth were missing. The bottom of the braincase was loose which happens in young skulls:

This is what the second badger skull looked like with the jaws on:

I have never found any badger skulls myself (but I have one that I got as a gift, and two that I bought on eBay) so they are quite rare to me. 

There was the back half of a fox skull. This is probably not as interesting as the others.

There were three bits of bone which I recognised as fish bones from working on my fish skull:

Then the bones started getting cool. There was a skull which I recognised as a grey heron. I've seen lots of grey herons but never found a grey heron skull. I do have a grey heron skull but I bought it on eBay.

Another one I recognised straight away was a buzzard skull.

There was a small box inside the biscuit tin with smaller bones in it:

The one at the top looks like a kestrel skull although I haven't checked for sure.

Bird of prey skulls have special laws. You can keep them if you can prove certain things about them. I'm going to write more about this next week.

I'm pretty sure this next one is a hedgehog skull. It looks young because the skull hasn't fused. I have a hedgehog skeleton already but another one is cool.

This looks like a mole skull to me:

Here is it beside a pound coin to show how small it is:

This looks like a mouse skull but it is tiny:

It even had the jaws to go with it:

There was a tiny molar tooth from something:

There were some tiny bird skulls as well. I'm not sure what they are yet, but this one is sparrow sized:

This is about the shape of a wood pigeon skull:

I'm not sure what this one is at all:

There was one more very important skull as well. It is so important I am going to give it a whole post of its own next week !

I have lots of feelings about getting this amazing parcel. One feeling is being very happy to have got these as a present. But another feeling is that this was a very kind man who sent them to me, and I am sad that I couldn't say thank you to him because he sent the parcel anonymously without a return address and he didn't give his full name. He is trusting me to look after these skulls and be responsible with them.

If you like bones and skulls at all, you have to read my post next weekend to find out what the other skull was ! (UPDATE: Here it is !)

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Jacob said...

To differentiate mice from other rodents, look at it's teeth, or preferably their sockets (or whatever they're called). If they are just rectangular holes, then it's not a mouse. If they are, I think, one hole and wo little ones beside it (that's for one tooth) it's part of the Muridea family (rats and mice).

Anonymous said...

Hi Jake, think your tiny molar is from the hedgehog skull.
Cheers, Ric.

Jake said...

Thanks Jacob and Ric !

Psydrache said...

Thats one awesome package! And it's amazing that it got to you without a full adress. Apropos, don't forgive to mail me your adress ;)
I second with Jacobs comment, its was a vole.

Jacob said...

Teamwork! *high-five*

jordan said...

hi jake
what a biscuit tin although the normal ones only have biscuits in them
whats your special bone of the year;~) is it a one u havent found yet
your friend

Jake said...

The most special one so far this year is the one I'm going to write about this weekend !

Unknown said...

Hello Jake. It is me, Roberto. I emailed you once talking about badgers and racoons. I like when you post about receiving boxes of bones. I liked your mole skull. I've always wanted to find one. I think i found one in an owl pellet but I can't tell if it is a mole or a large shrew. It has has 3 molars on its jaw (which is 2cm long). The skull is 2.5 cm long but the braincase is broken (like most shrew skulls. So is it a mole or is it too small?

Jake said...

Hi Roberto. It's hard to say, does this site help ?

Unknown said...

Thank you, yes it helped. Also most Shrews' teeth are dark red on the tips anyway. Do you have a shrew skull in your collection?

Jake said...

I do, I got it from an owl pellet !

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