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Author Warner, Chuck (Charles H.), author.

Title Birds, bones, and beetles : the improbable career and remarkable legacy of University of Kansas naturalist Charles D. Bunker / Chuck Warner.

Publication Info. Lawrence, Kansas : University Press of Kansas, 2019.


Location Call No. OPAC Message Status
 Axe 2nd Floor Stacks  508 B884Bw 2019    ---  Axe Inventory 2022
 Axe Kansas Collection  508 B884Bw 2019    ---  Lib Use Only
Description xiv, 211 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
text txt rdacontent
unmediated n rdamedia
volume nc rdacarrier
Summary "Every day, in natural history museums all across the country, colonies of dermestid beetles diligently devour the decaying flesh off of animal skeletons that are destined for the museum's specimen collection. That time-saving process was developed and perfected at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum by Charles D. Bunker, a lowly assistant taxidermist who would rise to become the curator of recent vertebrates and who made an indelible mark on his field. That innovative breakthrough serves as a testament to the tenacity of a quietly determined naturalist. Bunker was part of the small team of men who constructed and installed the famous Panorama of North American Mammals, the centerpiece exhibit of the KU Natural History Museum located in Dyche Hall. That iconic building on the KU campus was expressly built to house the collection of mounted animals that impressed the world a decade earlier at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition and World's Fair. Once the panorama was completed, Bunker turned his attention to field collecting. Bunker's field notes provide an accurate, authentic account of several expeditions to collect such specimens as well as a rare view of the extreme hardships of fieldwork in those early days. Perhaps most notable is "Bunk's" 1911 expedition to western Kansas, where he discovered the fossil remains of a forty-five-foot-long sea serpent--later identified as Tylosaurus proriger, an aquatic reptile from the mosasaur genus and the largest example of the species found in North America. In 2014, Tylosaurus was named the marine fossil of the state of Kansas. Birds, Bones, and Beetles tells the story of a man whose passion for learning led to remarkable discoveries, extraordinary exhibits, and the prestigious careers of many students he mentored in the natural sciences." "-- Provided by publisher.
"Charles Bunker began his career in an academia as a lowly assistant taxidermist in 1895 with no formal education past grammar school. He eventually rose to become the curator of recent vertebrates, a major collection for the Museum of Natural History at the University of Kansas. Bunk was part of the team that built the famous Panorama of North American Mammals in Dyche Hall on the KU campus. He also developed a labor-saving process that utilized dermestid beetles to meticulously clean the skeletons of even the most delicate specimens, a technique that became generally accepted by natural history museums across the country and is still utilized today. In 1911, while collecting birds and mammals in western Kansas, he discovered the fossilized remains of a forty-five-foot prehistoric sea serpent, which today is a centerpiece of the museum's fossil collection. Additionally, Bunk's students became nationally recognized and preeminent naturalists in the mid-twentieth century who assumed leadership roles at some of the country's most prestigious institutions, such as UC at Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and the Smithsonian Institution. Chuck Warner, a retired banker and Bunker's grandson, tells the story of Bunk's life and career in a breezy, engaging style. Anchored in Bunk's own papers and additional archival research, the manuscript also engages with secondary literature on the history of paleontology and natural history museums to give greater context to Bunk's life"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Source WtrMrk 09.2020 PARS
Awards Kansas Notable Book, 2020
Subject Bunker, Charles D.
Naturalists -- United States -- Biography.
Naturalists. (OCoLC)fst01034543
United States. (OCoLC)fst01204155
Genre/Form Biography. (OCoLC)fst01423686
ISBN 9780700627721 (hardback)
9780700627738 (paperback)
9780700627745 (ebook)

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