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Roy Chapman Andrews


roy chapman andrews

Roy Chapman Andrews (Wikimedia Commons)


Roy Chapman Andrews





Dinosaurs Discovered:

Oviraptor, Velociraptor, Saurornithoides

About Roy Chapman Andrews:

Although he had a long, active career in paleontology--he was director of the prestigious American Museum of Natural History from 1935 to 1942--Roy Chapman Andrews is best known for his fossil-hunting excursions to Mongolia in the early 1920's. At this time, Mongolia was a truly exotic destination, not yet dominated by China, virtually inaccessible by mass transport, and rife with political instability. During his expeditions, Andrews used both automobiles and camels, and he had a number of narrow escapes that added to his reputation as a dashing adventurer (he was later said to have been the inspiration for Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones movies).

Andrews discovered numerous dinosaur fossils at the Flaming Cliffs formation in Mongolia, including specimens of Oviraptor and Velociraptor, but today he's most famous for unearthing the first indisputable evidence of dinosaur eggs (before then, scientists were unsure if dinosaurs laid eggs or gave birth to live young). Even then, he made a huge (if understandable) mistake: Andrews believed his Oviraptor specimen had stolen the eggs of a nearby Protoceratops, but in fact this supposed "egg thief" turned out to be hatching its own young!

Roy Chapman Andrews is most often associated with his dinosaur discoveries, but in fact he was responsible for digging up and/or naming a respectable number of prehistoric mammals as well, including a specimen of Indricotherium and the Eocene predator Andrewsarchus (which was named by a paleontologist on one of Andrews' central Asian expeditions). As far as we know, these two mammals were the largest terrestrial herbivore and the largest terrestrial carnivore, respectively, ever to roam the face of the earth.

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