Born January 26, 1884, explorer Roy Chapman Andrews would later become best known for his globetrotting ways and was even said to be the model for movie icon Indiana Jones
1. Whales Researcher, 1908−1913
Early in his career at the Museum, Andrews spent time in the field—or rather, at sea—studying whales.
2. Leader of the Central Asiatic Expeditions to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, 1921−1930
In honor of his role as leader of the Central Asiatic Expeditions to Mongolia, during which his team discovered numerous important dinosaur and mammal bones, Andrews had many fossils named for him, including that of perhaps the largest meat-eating land mammal that ever lived: Andrewsarchus mongoliensis. Oh, And you can find a cast on display on “Paul and Irma Milstein Hall of Advanced Mammals”( American Museum of Natural History)- from the fourth floor! They also discovered the largest plant-eating land mammal ever to live, called Indricotherium. You can see the gigantic skull from there,too!
In Mongolia, his team also discovered many new dinosaur fossils, including the first nests of dinosaur eggs, and for sure from the same old floor!
3. Director of the American Museum of Natural History, 1935−1942, and Writer
Andrews became director of the Museum in 1935, the same year the Hayden Planetarium first opened. Learn more about the history of the Museum in a timeline.Always a prolific writer, Andrews later retired in order to write more books. And, for sure you can find them from the Museum’s library.
4. This guy was the Real-Life Inspiration for Indian Jones
What would it take to inspire a character like Indiana Jones? Roy Chapman Andrews, the very personification of the swashbuckling gentleman explorer, summed it up as such: “In [my first] 15 years [of field work] I can remember just ten times when I had really narrow escapes from death. Two were from drowning in typhoons, one was when our boat was charged by a wounded whale, once my wife and I were nearly eaten by wild dogs, once we were in great danger from fanatical lama priests, two were close calls when I fell over cliffs, once was nearly caught by a huge python, and twice I might have been killed by bandits.” -That’s who he is!
Certainly, known for his expeditions into the Gobi Desert, MONGOLIA in search of early human fossils. While his search for human fossils came up empty-handed, he unearthed an incredible assortment of dinosaur and ancient mammal bones—among them the earliest known mammals at the time and the first dinosaur eggs ever discovered. The nests of eggs proved definitively that dinosaurs reproduced like modern reptiles and birds.
“Always there has been an adventure just around the corner – and the world is still full of corners.”
~ Roy Chapman Andrews