January 26th

1884 – Happy Birthday Roy Chapman Andrews

On this day in dinosaurs one of the most legendary personalities in all of dinosaur paleontology was born.

Roy Chapman Andrews
Andrews showing off some dinosaur eggs. / DinoHunters.com.

When Roy Chapman Andrews was told there were no job openings at the American Museum of Natural History, he took it upon himself to begin cleaning the floors. He worked his way into the taxidermy department, then into paleontology.

Andrews is best known for the Central Asiatic Expeditions he led into the Gobi Desert in the 1920s. Using brand new motorcars and long lines of camels carrying gasoline and food, Andrews and his scientific team set out to find the origins of humanity. Instead, they found a trove of prehistoric animals of all kinds, including an early horned dinosaur, Protoceratops andrewsi (named in Roy’s honor).

But Andrews will always be remembered as the man who discovered the very first dinosaur eggs ever identified. These fossils ignited interest in dinosaurs and their parenting behavior. Originally attributed to Protoceratops, later American Museum of Natural History expeditions would show the eggs belonged to Oviraptor–an animal original thought to be a mischievous  “egg thief.”

In addition to many other wonderful fossil treasures, Andrews left an even larger legacy on the broader museum and exploring world. He became the director of the AMNH in 1934, and was also the president of the Explorer’s Club in New York for several years. His books were widely read and left an indelible mark on the brave scientists and adventurers that would follow him.

Though he has often been described as the ‘real life Indiana Jones,’ it may be wiser to consider Indiana Jones as the fictional Roy Chapman Andrews.

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