Charles D. Bunker discovered a time-saving way to clean skeletons. He put decaying animal remains into a corrogated cardboard box along with dermestid beetles. The bugs ate the flesh, leaving a clean specimen for the museum collection.
This innovative technique was one of many contributions that the shy, quiet and unassuming man would give to the field of natural history and to the KU Natural History Museum. Bunker was a leader in fieldwork and collecting, in curating, and in taxidermy. He helped to construct the landscape for the wild life panarama located in Dyche Hall. He also trained and mentored a cadre of future naturalists affectionately known as “Bunk’s Boys.”
Chuck Warner, retired business man and banker, was tempted into researching and writing a biography about Bunker–his grandfather– when he found family letters and records about him. It took Warner over ten years to write, re-write, and find a publisher for his book: Birds, Bones, and Beetles: the Improbably Career and Remarkable Legacy of University of Kansas Naturalist Charles D. Bunker. When asked how his book was received, Warner related this comment that he has heard from readers: “I didn’t think I would like it, but . . .” High praise for a first-time author.