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Chuck Warner will discuss his new book Birds, Bones, and Beetles: The Improbable Career and Remarkable Legacy of University of Kansas Naturalist Charles D. Bunker
Ft. Wallace Museum, Saturday, November 2 at 2:00 pm MDT
The book spans the lifetime and accomplishments of an
early pioneer and naturalist at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum,
who had important ties to the fossil fields of western Kansas.
On July 2, 1911, Charles
Bunker labored under a scorching sun as he carefully picked at the outcropping
of a dry creek bed near the Smoky Hill River a few miles south of Wallace,
Kansas. After several hours of slow and meticulous
handwork, a four-foot jawbone containing three and four-inch teeth was fully
exposed. It would turn out to be from a 45-foot
sea serpent that would have ruled the shallow sea that covered western Kansas
some 65 million years ago. For Bunk, a nickname he acquired from his
colleagues at the museum, finding this prize was quite unexpected since the
mission of his field trip was to collect bird and mammal specimens and not
Because the specimen was so large and much of the fossil bones were imbedded in rock, paleontologists disagreed on the species until the 1960s. Finally, it was determined that Bunker’s sea serpent was a mosasaur and the largest Tylosaurus proriger found in North America. In 2014 the species was recognized as the State of Kansas Marine Fossil and today this centerpiece of the museum’s fossil collection hangs over the entryway of Dyche Hall to greet all visitors to the KU Natural History Museum.
2655 Highway 40
Wallace, KS 67761
You can find the Fort Wallace Museum on Google Map and
Wallace Memorial Association is 501(c)3
organization set up to run the Fort Wallace Museum. |
Please contact the Museum about making a donation.
Fort Wallace Memorial will take donations through Pay Pal.
Thank You for Donations.
|Free admission with a suggested
$7 per adult.|
Winter hours [1st Sunday of Nov. - 2nd Sunday of March] 10 am-4 pm Thurs.- Sat.
as weather permits.
Summer hours [March 16 - Oct.] 9am-5 pm Mon. -Sat. and 1-5 pm Sunday
*Note: All times are Mountain Time*