Man is an ape with possibilities
-- Roy Chapman Andrews
Wearing an omnipresent ranger hat and with a revolver
almost always slung across his hips Roy Chapman Andrews
might easily have been the true life inspiration for Indiana Jones
. Only George Lucas
knows for sure.
Andrews was a paleontologist for the American Museum of Natural History and became world famous in the 1920's for his scientific exploration of outer Mongolia. These daring and dangerous expeditions were replete with bandits, sandstorms, civil wars, and snakes - and Chapman hated snakes.
In Mongolia his teams found the first dinosaur eggs -- ending the debate about whether dinosaurs were egg-layers or viviparous. Among their dinosaur discoveries were the first examples of Velociraptor - can you say Jurassic Park?. They also found skulls of mammals from the age of dinosaurs -- the first that had family lines still extant today.
Chapman grew up in Beloit, Wisconsin where he graduated from Beloit College. After graduation he moved to New York City where he started work at the Museum of Natural History -- scrubbing floors. He later became part of the collections staff and in the meantime picked up his MA from Columbia University in Mammalogy.
Chapman's exploits led to his being named director of the museum in 1934. He retired in 1942. He was an active speaker and writer until his death in 1960. A biography, Dragon Hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic Expeditions, by Charles Gallenkamp was published in 2001.
Books by Roy Chapman Andrews
Whale Hunting With Gun and Camera (1916)
Camps and Trails in China(1918)
On the Trail of Ancient Man (1926)
Ends of the Earth(1929)
Across Mongolian Plains (1931)
New Conquest of Central Asia (1932)
This Business of Exploring (1935)
Exploring With Andrews (1938)
This Amazing Planet (1940)
Under a Lucky Star (1943)
Meet Your Ancestors (1945)
An Explorer Comes Home (1947)
Quest in the Desert (1950)
Heart of Asia (1951)
All About Dinosaurs (1953)
All About Whales (1954)
Beyond Adventure (1954)
All About Strange Beasts of the Past (1956)
In the Days of the Dinosaurs (1959)
The Virtual Exploration Society : www.unmuseum.org/andrews.htm
The Milwaukee Journal -- 8/12/2001
The Library of Congress