|A couple of boneheads
and friend, Orca
|As a kid I was a junkie, a natural history junkie. I was passionate about the natural world and couldn't get enough of it. I
collected everything related to that world I could get my hands on -- bugs, birds, feathers, rocks, shells, butterflies,
and especially bones. These were labeled and displayed on the walls of my room until it looked like the
aftermath of a bomb going off in a natural history museum storage room.
I spent several formative years on the East Coast where an ultimate treat was finding a new specimen or visiting
a natural history museum. Of special interest was any exhibits having to do with bones, whether a full
dinosaur skeleton or a single human bone.
Eventually my family moved back to Alaska where I finished school and became a bicycle mechanic and eventually
moved to the small town of Homer, Alaska where I became a bookseller. Homer had a great small natural history
museum (The Pratt Museum) run by an inspiring director, Betsy Pitzman (who also was a bone enthusiast), and a
wonderful crew of staff and volunteers. There I articulated a 17-foot Beaked Whale the staff had collected and cleaned.
This led to fifteen years of building up the osteology collection at the museum by salvaging, preparing, and often
articulating animal skeletons.
In the mid 90's came a three year high school/museum collaborative project in which I worked with high school students
on first articulating a 41-foot Sperm Whale skeleton we had collected and cleaned, then half a dozen other skeletons.
Since that project, my focus has been working mostly with schools and students and creating written manuals that can
help others who might want to do similar projects. One teacher suggested that I was like the Pied Piper of bones,
leaving a trail of kids who all wanted to do another skeleton project.
Today, I still live in Homer, Alaska, with my life-partner, Mary, who is my computer-graphic whiz and web site designer
(so if you have any complaints about this site or how the manuals look you can complain to her). I still sell books in
partnership with my sister, Sue Post, and our friend Jenny Stroyek, at the Homer Bookstore. That's my part-time
day-job, but my real passion is bone building.
|Below are photos of my room when I was a kid. Having all that great stuff was
a sure-fired way to keep little sisters out of there.
Click on photos to get a better look.
|Me in my kayaking uniform-cooking
|My Mary who keeps my world
running smoothly, my
accomplice and webmistress.
|Life inside the igloo.
|What we get to see from the front door
of our igloo.
|Since I'm not fortunate enough to
survive in Homer Alaska just on bone
work -- this is the scene of my Day Job.
|It is the longest running new books
Bookstore, on the Kenai Peninsula in
I started working in it in 1979.
|MY DAYTIME JOB, THE HOMER BOOKSTORE
|My beautiful daughter, Krissy, who currently lives in Moab, Utah.
(It really wasn't that big -- she was holding it close to the camera.)
|The view I see from behind the counter
|Looking towards the back of the store,
as you walk in through the front door.
|This is a kayaker's view of the end of
the Homer Spit - taken during a not
quite summer kayak trip.
|Homer is known for it's spectacular
scenery - it's halibut fishing - it's artists
and authors and for this 4 mile long
sliver of property that sticks out into the
bay (The Homer Spit).
|My summer passion is kayaking. This is
the type of scenery on the other side of
|Sometimes I kayak before it is summer -
especially on days that look like this.
|A short hike on the other side of the bay
gets you to this view.
|The Homer Harbor on a nice
day in the winter.
|A view of the bay from the road past town.
|A Homer beach on a typical summer day
(when the sun is out). A sunny summer
day is very atypical however.
We got a couple of them last year.
|FAVORITE PAST-TIME AND FAVORITE FRIENDS
|Another kayak friend silently sneaking
over to an otter (what looks like a log in
front of her). The game is to try and get
as close to the otter before it knows
|The bay is very rich in marine life from whales to sea otters to seals to sea lions to birds to inter-tidal life.
|Then it's off to another beach and
another part of the bay.
|It's tough holding that beach down - but someone has to do it. These are super
teacher friends and their beautiful daughter (and myself in the purple shirt), on a
|An eagle with Mt Augustine
- an active volcano in the
|The "Eagle Lady " Jean Keene
feeds the wild eagles for a period of time
each winter - attracting sometimes several
hundred eagles to the end of the spit.
Jean Keene passed away this winter of
2009. She shall be missed.
|As the snow in the hills gets deeper and
deeper- Many moose move into town.
Some stay and have their calves here in
|This is in my front yard which is in a
suburban neighborhood in town.
|Eagles allow photographers to get
quite close. . . .
|Harbor seals are common.
|Sea Otters wrap themselves in kelp while
they sleep to keep from drifting away.
The game is to sneak right by them in a
kayak without waking them. Sometimes it
|. . . .combined with ever changing winter
lighting - it is a photographers mecca for
|Another volcano we can see from the
Homer area---Mt Illiamna with some sea
otters in front of it on an early spring day
from the kayak.
|The bay has several hundred sea otters
which sometimes congregate near the
base of the spit in the winter - feeding and
resting on ice floes.
|Yes I'll take your picture too.
|Occasionally some of my correspondents become curious about my world and will request pictures.
For any of you who may also be similarly curious, these are snapshots of my world and I'm sticking to it.
|And for the friends of Carol and Wally ~ who could scarcely believe there was such a thing as a baculum--- let alone
that there was such a thing as a "Boneman"----here is an illustration of a walrus baculum
|Lee Post was consistently late to elementary school. "You need to send him off earlier," said the phone calls his mother would receive from school, but it didn't matter how much time
he had to walk there." He would get distracted by animal tracks and things in the pond," said his younger sister, Sue Post. She remembers her brother's childhood room as a
museum full of rocks and bones and dead things in jars. "He's just always been fascinated with this stuff," she said.
Post readily admits to being a nerd. He presents a little differently than the average schoolhouse variety, however. He never actually finished college, but instead worked as a
bicycle mechanic and came to the end of the road from Anchorage with his mother when they bought the Homer Bookstore 33 years ago. As a bicycle repairman and a bookseller,
Post used his free time to volunteer at the Pratt Museum, which had recently acquired a dead Bering Sea beaked whale. And that's when Lee Post became the Boneman.
"For me in this town it was like the perfect place at the perfect time. I always wanted to work at a museum, but I didn't have a degree," Post said. "The reality was that they didn't
have time to put it together, so it became my project." Projects like this propelled Post into a career he could only dream of as a child. Post thought he'd just order a book on how to
put a whale skeleton together, but found out there weren't any. So he called around the country and found that most display skeletons had been assembled a hundred years ago by
folks who didn't take notes and were long dead. It took him 300 hours of work in a makeshift room in the museum basement, consulting whatever fisherman or carpenter was handy
when he got stuck, for Post to assemble the whale skeleton that now hangs upstairs at the Pratt.
"That got me going, so I started doing a skeleton or two a year for the next 10 years or so. A dozen, 15 whales later I pretty much have it down to how to do this now," Post said. He
has literally written the book on skeleton building, or, as he calls it, "articulation." To be precise, he's written and illustrated 10 which describe the method for articulating everything
from little birds to massive marine mammals . The manuals are based on Post's research and drawings, which are detailed and accurate enough to use as identification keys. Post
realized a need for such reference materials in 1987, while on an archaeological dig in Halibut Cove. With high school-level art training, he has now drawn complete skeletons of
more than 30 birds and 30 mammals. There still are no complete atlases to find out "what bone is this," but Post's drawings are a good place for a person to begin. A lot of people
start with his drawings. Post has sent the bone articulation manuals to individuals and organizations around the world, and all but three states in the U.S.
|Newspaper article from the Homer News, Homer, Alaska.
Permission for this reprint granted by the Homer News.
|Homer Alaska - News
Lee Post: Self-taught Skeleton Reconstruction Expert
By Lindsay Johnson
|Lee Post stands next to one of his cases
of skulls at his home in Homer. On the
wall behind him is an emu skeleton.
Photographer: Lindsay Johnson, Homer
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
|The sperm whale skeleton, which hangs in the high school, helped kick off many more skeleton constructions, as students and teachers found out they, too, could be bone builders.
"We cleaned out the freezers and ended up putting together six or eight," Post said of student projects that followed. There isn't much for local bone projects these days, so the
majority of Post's work in Homer is at his "day job" at the Bookstore. In his free time, he replies to e-mails about bones, draws pictures of bones and edits the manuals, which he self
publishes along with his life-partner, Mary.
|THE BONE BUILDING BOOKS
|Step by step guides for the
preparation and articulation of
|BY LEE POST (a.k.a. Boneman)
|TheBoneman.com copyright 2005 by Lee Post Illustrations copyright by Lee Post. All Rights Reserved Merry Web Designs copyright 2005
|THIS SITE LAST UPDATED: February 20, 2016