Collector’s Spotlight: (Jake’s) Bones

June 28, 2013


A while ago I introduced my new blog feature, Collector’s Spotlight, where I interview people about their interesting, unusual or unique collections. Russell and his ‘brooch of the day’ collection were the first to be featured, and this time I am delighted to introduce a remarkable young man from Scotland and his even more remarkable collection to you!

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Photograph courtesy of


Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Jake, I am eleven years old and I live in Perthshire in Scotland. I blog at, and I have my first book, based on my blog, being published in March next year by Octopus Publishing.

What do you collect?
I collect bones.

Since when have you been collecting?
I have been collecting for five years and blogging for four years.


Photograph courtesy of


How did your collection start?
I was out walking on the hills after school and I found a rabbit skull. I took it home to find out more about it, then soon afterwards I found a roe buck skeleton in the woods near my house. I find bones interesting, and I am lucky where I live in Scotland because it is surrounded by all kinds of wildlife, like red deer, roe deer, buzzards, kestrels, foxes and badgers and lots and lots of woods to explore.

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Jake examining a roe deer skeleton – photograph courtesy of


Where do you keep your collection?
In my room at home. Some red deer stag skulls are outside, and the bodies which are undergoing decomposition are either in the garden or a nearby wood I call The Mortuary.

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Jake’s room – photograph courtesy of


Do you use your collection?
I use my skulls to compare against other skulls, to see how they change with age, try to work out cause of death, and to see how animals have adapted to where they live and what they eat.

What was the most recent addition to your collection?
I think it is a roe buck skull with an unusual pathology behind the antlers, but I have some owl pellets that I haven’t gone through yet, a badger, a seal and a buzzard which are rotting down.

How big is your collection and is it still growing?
I have about 150 skulls, and about 35 groups of bones, usually full skeletons. I probably have about 2,500 individual bones in total. I’m always on the look out for new bones to add to my collection.

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Jake and a fox skeleton he put back together – photograph courtesy of


Do any of the pieces in your collection have interesting stories associated with them?
I had a golden eagle skull sent anonymously from a former deerstalker in the Highlands. It took me about a month checking with Scottish Natural Heritage and DEFRA that I was allowed to keep it. I had a mummified fox that took ages to rot down to get the bones and when I did it had some really unusual pathology that I worked out was from a fight with another fox, which then meant it walked with a limp on the other leg from the muscle attachments. I also have a red deer humerus/ulna and radius which had fused together horribly after a horrible break, twisting the leg backwards.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?
I think my juvenile leopard with a broken jaw is, but maybe my golden eagle or my fallow buck skull.

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Jake with Chris Packham on BBC Autumnwatch – screenshot courtesy of

Many thanks to Jake for answering my interview questions. If you have more questions for Jake, you can also find him on Twitter at @jakesbones, and don’t forget to check out his awesome blog!

If you have an interesting, unusual or unique collection you’d like featured on Museum Diary, please get in touch!

3 Responses to “Collector’s Spotlight: (Jake’s) Bones”

  1. Geroge S Says:

    He’s going to find it difficult to get a girlfriend with a bedroom like that!

    Be interested to know who’s actually writing his tweets (and book) because I do not believe it’s all him.


    • Jake Says:

      Hi Geroge S !

      There’s more about the book and how it’s being written here:

      What happens is my editor takes posts I have already written in the last four years, and edits them and puts them in a different order to fit the chapters. Then she sends it to me, then I make changes, then it goes back to her then to the designer then to the fact checker then back to me. It’s very complicated, and about five people are involved in the book with designing pages, creating cartoons and photos and other things.

      Most of my tweets are automatic, whenever a new post gets posted on my blog. I sometimes ask on Twitter if I need help with something though.


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