Ron and Lisa Jones of Tucumcari have donated a collection of 37 skulls from a wide variety of animals from Quay County, northern New Mexico and south Texas to Mesalands Community College.
“Well,” said Ron Jones a wildlife specialist with the United States Department of Agriculture, “We donated it because we felt it could be a good teaching tool at the college and we felt they could use it.”
According to Jones the collection took between 15 and 20 years to assemble and most of it is the result of the travels throughout the area.
“I would see a dead animal, and I would stop collect it and then clean it and prepare it for display,” said Ron Jones. “I guess you could say they were roadkill.”
Jones said that in the past he would annually loan the collection to the high school to help the judging team in FFA and ag classes but felt that the skulls could be of better use on permanent display.
“I’ve thought about it (donating the collection) for years,” said Jones.
Jones said he and his wife thought about donating the collection to a museum also but finally settled on the community college in Tucumcari.
“It just seemed like it would be of the most use there,” said Jones.
Lisa Jones said that she will miss the collection being in her home because it was always a good topic of conversation when people came over.
“I enjoyed having it around here. We could show it when company came,” said Lisa Jones. “But I’m glad that it will be someplace people can learn from it.”
Ron said Lisa enjoyed having it around the house, “as long as she didn’t have to mess with it.”
The collection which is made up of: 13 birds, 14 carnivores, eight rodents, a fish and a turtle will be used as instructional helps in biology classes at the college.
“We are excited about this valuable gift to the college and the role the collection will play as an aid in biology instruction,” said Dr. Axel Hungerbuehler, biology instructor at Mesalands.