Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bone Collecting from the Beginning

I have been collecting bones from a very young age. I was 7 years old when it all began. My brother and I found a tiny dead newly hatched turtle in an ant bed at the end on our suburban Tampa cul-de-sac. We argued over who was going to keep it. Chris, being three years older, of course won that right.

Somewhere around 15 years later though, he passed on that skeleton to me. Sadly, Dermestid Beetle larvae ate up the tiny skeletal remains while it was in a glass case on my wall. Fitting since these larvae are used for cleaning carcasses for the bones and skulls.

I've actually lost much of the older parts of my bone and insect collection to these guys. Now I try to keep my more fragile remains in sealed glass jars or plastic bags. The Dermestid Beetle larvae can actually eat smaller bones and insect remains entirely.

You can purchase Dermestid Beetles and their larvae online. If I ever have a larger scale use for them I'll buy some but the maggots a carrion beetles out where I live do a great job on their own and are free. We'll talk about that in much more gruesome detail later on though.

BONELUST - Misc Animal Teeth & Tiny Pufferfish in Jar
Misc animal teeth found in my yard & tiny Pufferfish in jar.

So my brother and I had a pretty spectacular bone collection growing up which was carefully displayed in his room. A sea turtle skull, the entire remains of an armadillo, a huge long-horned cow skull, and much more. I'm going to see if I can find some photos of our collection to post later.

Ours parents, unfortunately must have thought this was a hobby that my brother and I needed to grow out of though. One Summer while we were at our grandparents' in Missouri our entire collection vanished with no explanation. We came home to empty shelves where it once was. Still to this day, I'm upset about it. There were things in that collection that I've never been able to get again. And some of it held sentimental meaning.

My brother still collects bones as well. His are bought or found for the most part. I don't think he goes through the processes I do though of going from a carcass to clean bones. But I may just be unaware of that though too.

I live in the deep-country on the Gulf coast of Florida these days. In an area called The Nature Coast. I moved here to enjoy nature while the locals spend much of their time trying to kill it for sport and/or food.

There is certainly no lack of bones to be found out here.

BONELUST - Found Skull & Fragments
Skull and fragments found in backyard after the dogs chewed it up. I think it is actually another dog.

There is an endless amount of road kill along the highways to take you pick at, if you care to drag the body to your car and take it home. Ranging from opossum, raccoon, dog, cat, wild boar, deer, vulture, turtle, wild turkey, rabbit, skunk, barn owl...and on and on.

Most of my finds recently though can be thanks to A) the local hunter dumping gutted carcasses in the woods and B) my dogs dragging the bones and skulls into the yard.

I'm going to chronicle those stories here, and much more.


Nanogeo said...

We may have been EVIL parents, although I have no recollection of doing any bone trashing. Anyway, have not we made up for it by picking up or buying big bones for you? Not feeling guilty ... as I have no memory of any of this. I think the dermistids got to your brain!!!

Jana Miller said...

Hahaha, oh Dad! It didn't vanish by itself. Yes, you have certainly made up for it since buying Chris and I all kinds of weird and amazing stuff over the years! I love you my lurking father!