A week ago today, Kieran and I spent several rainy hours exploring Mt. Hamilton in San Jose. Because of the wet, windy weather, we had the whole place to ourselves. Under an enormous, dead oak tree we found dozens of tiny rodent bones — skulls, mandibles and limb bones, too. After collecting them, we stumbled upon the titanic thigh bone of a long-dead cow. Searching the tall grass around the area, we quickly found most of the other bones of the cow’s skeleton, except its skull, which some passing hikers may have carried off, years ago. The bones were so old that they’d begun to break down. One shank of the cow even had a tiny green shoot and leaves growing out of it.
Being a good scientist, Kieran compared the tiny femur of the mouse (1″ long) to the massive cow femur (15″ long). Despite their enormous difference in size, the structures of the bones were quite similar.
Packing home forty or fifty pounds of bones wasn’t at all easy. Good thing we didn’t get pulled over while the trunk of our car was full of bones! Now our collection of bones is bigger than ever.