Meet Cecil and Grayson, a father/son team creating prehistoric skeletal structures using chicken bones!
GHMF: Can you describe your project?
Cecil: Our project focuses on creating amazing skeletal models of prehistoric creatures using chicken bones (leftover from dinner) as a medium. My family enjoys visiting museums and after several visits to the Peabody in Yale and the Museum of Natural History in NYC, I thought it would be cool to create a dinosaur skeleton that was realistic and of similar quality as a museum showpiece. I also felt it would be a good father/son project since my older son has always showed an interest in nature and building with his hands. Chicken bones along with other common dinner fowls, like ducks and turkeys, work great as a construction medium because they have a multitude of bone sizes and varieties along with their connection to their dinosaur ancestors. Our ultimate goal is not just to recreate prehistoric animals, but to use our imagination in order to transform a disregarded material from a meal into a work of art.
GHMF: This is a very unique exhibit; what inspired you to start working on this project?
Cecil: In 2008, the GeekDad blog in Wired magazine, had an article on creating a dinosaur with chicken bones. I thought it would be really cool to try this project with my son, Grayson; however, he was only one years old at the time. After visiting the Peabody and Museum of Natural History when Grayson was in the first grade, I decided this would be a good time to start this project.
The blog in Wired magazine referenced the book, Make Your Own Dinosaur out of Chicken Bones: Foolproof Instructions for Budding Paleontologists by Christopher Mcgowan. This book was an excellent reference and deep in knowledge of dinosaur anatomy, but at a first grade level we quickly departed from the book and our imagination took over. Mcgowan’s book focuses on the creation of an apatosaurus skeleton, but we ultimately went for a triceratops due to its complexity (horns and brimmed head), while an apatosaurus requires a lot of neck bones which are hard to come by in typical meals. Once we got the technique of building a skeleton, we moved on to a unique prehistoric animal that is not a dinosaur: a woolly mammoth. The chicken bones are so complex that they can be arranged and manipulated into creations that are not fowl based.
GHMF: How does the father/son team dynamic work?
Cecil: My son, Grayson, handles the idea creation, bone gluing and image searching while I handle the bone cleaning and wire cutting.
GHMF: Any plans for your project in the future?
Cecil: Grayson loves Greek Mythology, so we may build a skeleton of a Centaur or Minotaur.
GHMF: The maker movement has turned into a global phenomenon. Yet, many people still don’t know what the movement is about. What do you think is the biggest misconception about makers?
Cecil: I feel the biggest misconception of the maker movement is that makers are only people that create over the top inventions or generate groundbreaking research. I feel a maker is anyone that uses basic human curiosity to solve problems, create art and have fun with technology. That means my aunt knitting scarves and skull caps, or my son and I building models of dinosaurs, or a person brewing beer in their kitchen, are all considered makers.
GHMF: Is there anything else you would like to share about your project?
Cecil: My son and I enjoy the time we spend working on these models. I hope that when he is an adult, he looks back at these models or even an exhibit in a museum and reflects on the time we spent creating them.
GHMF: What is the best way for people to get in touch with you?
Cecil: I can be reached via email at email@example.com. I still like social interactions over the phone or email versus other online social mediums.