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Naturalist Notebook 

April 30, 2014

Bandar’s Bones: Skulls of a Lifetime


Bandar’s Bones: Skulls of a Lifetime
On display in the Naturalist Center on Level 3

Academy Field Associate Raymond “Bones” Bandar has spent more than 60 years collecting skulls — and a collection of that scale holds some pretty fascinating stories!

Make your way to the Naturalist Center to see 63 of these specimen treasures up close in a 10-case display personally curated by Bandar. Highlighting a diverse variety of mammal skulls from different sexes, age groups, and with unique abnormalities, this display features giraffes, monkeys, muntjacs, dolphin, and more!



Naturalist Center hours:

Saturday and Sunday, 10AM – 5PM

Monday through Friday 11AM – 4PM

Starting May 16, 2014, Monday through Friday until 5PM


Filed under: Uncategorized — nature @ 4:26 pm


  1. Can you provide a link or source for a video about the story of Bander and his collection? I saw it & tried to record it several (5?) years ago on PBS/KQED, but my VHS was damaged. I can’t recall if it was 30 minutes or 60 minutes.
    It was a great video and would be a crucial part of setting the stage for a wonderful field trip for my AP Biology students.
    I appreciate how much effort you folks put into K12 education, but the actual programs/labs for life science in grades 9-12 or 13+ are rare as of late. I would truly value your assistance in tracking this video down. I’ve tried PBS websites but Mr Bander may know how to get it.
    Thank you! Susan

    Comment by Susan Edgar-Lee — May 7, 2014 @ 4:18 am

  2. Perhaps this is the film you’re referring to: http://www.a-life-with-skulls.com/ It is available for purchase.

    We are playing this film with regularity in the Naturalist Center on Level 3 of the Academy. We also have 63 of Ray’s skull collection in the Naturalist Center. The main SKULLS exhibit (in the Forum of the Academy), with hundreds of Ray’s skulls, opens in the Academy’s Forum on Level 2 on May 16th.

    That aforementioned film is not available online and it is not on YouTube, but you may want to search YouTube for other films on Ray Bandar.

    Hope this helps.


    Comment by nature — May 12, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

  3. Hello Susan,

    If you are looking for my movie about Ray Bandar, which did play on PBS a few years ago, you can find it online on the following sites:



    It’s also available on DVD if you’re interested: a-life-with-skulls.com.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re showing it to your students.

    Beth Cataldo

    Comment by Beth Cataldo — May 19, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

  4. How long will his exhibit be showing at the museum?

    Comment by Simone — June 11, 2014 @ 11:38 am

  5. Until November 30th. http://www.calacademy.org/academy/exhibits/skulls/

    Comment by nature — June 11, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

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