Roy Chapman Andrews

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Roy Chapman Andrews (January 26, 1884 – March 11, 1960) was an American explorer, adventurer and naturalist who became the director of the American Museum of Natural History. He is primarily known for leading a series of expeditions through the fragmented China of the early 20th century into the Gobi Desert and Mongolia. The expeditions made important discoveries and brought the first-known fossil dinosaur eggs to the museum.



Early life and education

Andrews was born on January 26, 1884, in Beloit, Wisconsin. As a child, he explored forests, fields, and waters nearby, developing marksmanship skills. He taught himself taxidermy and used funds from this hobby to pay tuition to Beloit College, where he was a member of Sigma Chi.

On March 31, 1905, during his junior year in College, Andrews was boating on the Rock River in bad conditions when his craft capsized; his friend, Monty White, died in the cold waters, but Andrews survived. After graduation the following year, Andrews used some of his money saved from taxidermy to travel to New York City to find a job at the American Museum of Natural History. Told that there were no openings, Andrews took a job as a janitor in the taxidermy department and began collecting specimens for the museum. During the next few years, he worked and studied simultaneously, earning a Master of Arts degree in mammalogy from Columbia University.


From 1909 to 1910, Andrews sailed on the USS Albatross to the East Indies, collecting snakes and lizards and observing marine mammals. In 1913, he sailed aboard the schooner Adventuress with owner John Borden to the Arctic. They were hoping to obtain a bowhead whale specimen for the American Museum of Natural History. On this expedition, he filmed some of the best footage of seals ever seen, though did not succeed in acquiring a whale specimen.

He married Yvette Borup in 1914. From 1916 to 1917, Andrews and his wife led the Asiatic Zoological Expedition of the museum through much of western and southern Yunnan, as well as other provinces of China. The book Camps and Trails in China records their experiences.

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