Kieran loves to collect animal bones. Since he was a two-year-old toddler, he’s brought home whatever bones he’s found, mostly deer bones and some squirrel bones (both Sciurus niger and Spermophilus beecheyi), but also a seagull skull and a huge, heavy bone from the shoulder of a cow. He has dozens of deer vertebrae and also tiny, bead-sized bird vertebrae, plus a still-articulated deer spine. On our treks across remote areas of Sunol and Mt. Diablo, we’ve found three deer skulls, two with racks of antlers, and also many mandibles. Kieran also has a bison jaw that I bought for him at the Bone Room, and a coyote skull his godfather sent him from the Rocky Mountains.
All in all, it’s quite a collection, and Kieran loves to spread the bones out on his bed and study them.
The jaws of a shark.
Kieran loves to categorize his bones by arranging them on his bed.
At the California Academy of Sciences’ skull exhibit this summer.
A deer skull with enormous rack of antlers found in Little Pine Creek on Mt. Diablo.
More deer bones on Mt. Diablo.
This summer a dragonfly nymph crawled out of a vase full of pond water in Kieran’s bedroom, up onto the antlers of his deer skull, and the adult imago emerged overnight. We found the beautiful adult Anax junius fluttering against the window in the morning.
Kieran never tires of studying his bone collection.
Ribs, vertebrae and scapulae.
Deer teeth and jaws.
Kieran has enough bones to make several deer, were he inclined like Dr. Frankenstein.
He found this deer mandible himself in a dry Mt. Diablo creek bed.
A gull skull found on Alameda’s Crab Cove beach.
I bought him the mandible of a bison.
Kieran has a replica human skull, too, that he got for Christmas.
A big skull at a friend’s house.
A California Ground Squirrel skull found in Briones.
Vertebrae are conserved — they look very similar in many different creatures, from shrews to whales.