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Marion Bonner Exhibit Murals
201 North 4th Street
About this Exploration:
Step back, way back, in time and get a peek at prehistoric western Kansas, where much of the land was under water and massive fish swam the seas. Leoti native and paleontologist Marion Bonner was fascinated with this era and spent much of his life scouring the hillsides in search of fossils that would help unlock these prehistoric mysteries.
The Museum of the Great Plains honors Marion Bonner's work with an exhibit featuring some of his fossil finds and a set of three murals depicting those prehistoric times. The artist, Chuck Bonner, Marion Bonner's son, captures what might have been in these colorful paintings.
In 2010, a new genus of fish was named after Marion Bonner and his family. Bonnerichtys, a huge plankton feeder, 20 to 25 feet long, was not known to exist in the Cretaceous seas. But it was back in 1971 when the discovery was first made, Marion and Chuck were fossil hunting when Chuck discovered the fossil bone sticking out of a chalk spire. It was Marion, however, who went on to collect the specimen. It took months to collect and was eventually given to the University of Kansas Natural History Museum where one of Bonner's other children, Orville, worked. Scientists were puzzled as to its identity but years went by before it caught the attention of a researcher working on his Ph.D. who began studying the fish and identified it as a new genus. One of Bonner's other famous discoveries is the "Fish within a Fish" fossil.
The Bonner Murals were voted as the winner of the 8 Wonders of Wichita County in Art.
The Museum of the Great Plains is open Tuesday-Friday 1-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 2-5 p.m.
206 South 4th Street / P.O. Box 345
Leoti, KS 67861