While browsing in Forals Fossils in Room 156 at the Ramada Limited I came across a series of rather esoteric how-to books that I was impressed with as paradigms of the niche genre. The Bone Building Books were written to teach and help academics and students prepare and articulate animal skeletons.
I called and interviewed author Lee Post in Homer, Alaska to learn more about what prompted him to author these books, which are an obvious labor of love and not something you would spend time writing if your object was to get rich at it. I learned that Lee is a former bicycle mechanic who now makes a living as the owner of a small bookstore in Homer and that Lee has been involved as a volunteer at the Pratt Museum of Natural History there for some time.
In 1994 Lee participated as a hands-on instructor and mentor in a museum/school collaboration that involved high school students in preparing and articulating a 41-foot sperm whale skeleton. This experience led to half a dozen additional skeleton projects ranging in scale from a porcupine to a moose which were put on display at the school. That work resulted in a deluge of requests from other educators interested in conducting similar projects at their own schools who wanted to know what was involved and how to go about doing skeleton preparation. Lee began to appreciate the information available to teachers and students wanting to work with skeletons was scant. The Bone Building Books have evolved from photocopied notes and diagrams he began making and distributing to support other educators and their students with his expertise and how-to.
During my conversation with Lee he also related there is a small but enthusiastic population of non-academic skeleton appreciators and bone nuts out there who are into skeleton preparation and articulation as a hobby and rewarding activity in its own right. I had not really previously thought about it, but it does sound rather interesting. I particularly recall seeing a snake skeleton on display during a previous Tucson Show that captivated me with its elegantly functional beauty. Hmmm... lot of rattlers around this neck of the woods...
If you have an academic or hobby interest in skeleton preparation and display you can learn more about Lee's Bone Building Books at his web site The Bone Man.
Forals Fossils, Ramada Limited Mineral and Fossil Show Room 156 - Alan Foral, PO Box 67121, Lincoln, NE 68506 - Phone: 420-489-5600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org