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.
Archived posts: The following articles are from the month or year requested:

Strange bones #12: the mystery metacarpal


This bone might not like a mystery at all if you know a bit about bones. But there are two big mysteries:  what animal is it from, and how did it get there ?

Dad found it two weeks ago when walking in Suicides Graves wood. It was in the south-west corner, maybe quarter a mile away from where I found the red deer calf bones, and it was well inside the wood itself, away from the fields. It is easy to see it is either a metatarsal or metacarpal (which is a lower leg bone) from an animal like a sheep or deer but that doesn't solve the mystery.

Other bone collectors and their favourite bones


This week's post is a bit different because it's the first one I have ever done that's not really written by me ! I got the idea when Ben Garrod did a competition for the most unusual skull on his Bens Bones Facebook page and it started me thinking about other bone collectors. I asked a few weeks ago for my readers of my blog to email me with their pictures and stories, and here are the first four who responded.

A big thank you to Sonja, Jack, Michael and Emma for doing this ! I'll definitely be doing more of these, so if you want to be featured in the future, email me at jakesbones@gmail.com.

Anyway here are the four stories...

I have written a totally new 'cleaning bones' section !


Back in 2009 I wrote a post about how to clean animal bones. It has been one of my most successful posts ever with lots and lots and lots of visitors, over fifty comments so far, and I get about three or four emails a week just asking for advice on cleaning bones. But it's three years old and I've learnt a lot more since then, so it's a bit outdated.

I'm on half term at the moment so I spent the day completely writing a new guide which has almost everything I know about cleaning bones. You can read it here or by clicking the "cleaning bones" tab at the top of every page. Hope you like it !

Woodpeckers, seals and other things I saw this week


For most of this week I've been on holiday in Skye, and I came back on Friday. This week has been great for seeing lots of wildlife. I have already written about seeing the white-tailed sea eagles but here are some of the other things I saw there and at home since I came back.

One of the most amazing things about Skye was how many stars you could see. On the second night Dad was leaving out the rubbish and then he called me out to see the sky. You could see so much because there were no clouds or streetlights and we were in the middle of nowhere. This is how it looked:

Seeing white-tailed sea eagles on the Isle of Skye


This week I've been on holiday in the Isle of Skye. Skye is an island to the north west of Scotland and it's about 55 miles tall and about 25 miles wide. Skye has amazing views, some great mountains and some incredible wildlife, including golden eagles, seals, otters and sea eagles (white-tailed eagles).

White-tailed sea eagles are the fourth biggest raptor in the world, and the rarest raptor in the UK. There are eleven breeding pairs in Skye. They are rare because they were once hunted almost to extinction (like red kites) and they have been reintroduced. They mainly hunt at the coasts but there is one which nests in Fife which my local gamekeeper has seen near my village, which is about 50 miles inland.

Did this red deer calf die last winter ?


This weekend I am at my uncle's wedding, so I am going to write about a walk that I did last weekend. Dad and I went up to Suicides Graves where we have been doing lots of stalking the red deer and hoping to spot stags that come into the woods for the rut. We saw four groups of red deer (and a red kite) but the most interesting thing was not alive at all.

We had worked all the way through the wood to a clearing at the south-west corner of the wood when I spotted some bones at the edge of the wood next to the clearing. They were the bones of a young  red deer hind (female) and they were scattered about as if foxes had pulled the body apart.

I need your help for two future blog posts !


I'm preparing two special blog posts for a month or so's time, and I need your help !

One is going to be about my ten favourite websites for bone collectors. I know what my ten favourite websites are, but are there any I have missed ? What are your favourite websites ?

I would like to do another post about other amateur bone collectors like me and what their favourite bone or skull in their collection is. I got the idea from a thing that Ben Garrod did on his Ben's Bones Facebook page (I came second with my leopard skull). If you are a bone collector, what's your favourite skull ?

Leave a message in the comments below, or email me at jakesbones@gmail.com !

PS. I have just realised this is my 200th blog post ! Hurrah for me !

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