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In the movies, there’s Indiana Jones; but in the real world, there was Roy Chapman Andrews. Some say this fearless, larger-than-life adventurer who, like Indiana, had a wide-brimmed hat, leather jacket, and six-shooter may have been the inspiration for the big-screen hero.
From 1910 to 1930, Andrews led countless expeditions for the American Museum of Natural History, boldly facing such dangers as killer pythons, man-eating wild dogs, marauding bandits, blinding sandstorms, and imprisonment by corrupt officials. Even as China and Mongolia exploded in revolutionary chaos, he and his team of paleontologists intrepidly journeyed by car, camel, and horse through the uncharted Gobi desert where he discovered the largest deposits of dinosaur fossils ever seen. His group amazed the world with their discoveries and scientists are still following in Andrews’s footsteps, digging in the rich sites he found.
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Grade 6–9—World-famous paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, heralded as a real-life Indiana Jones, apparently had more lives than a cat. He once opined, "I can remember just ten times when I had really narrow escapes from death." Here, readers get a fascinating glimpse of his near-death experiences and all of his adventures in between. Raised in Wisconsin, Andrews was an avowed naturalist from an early age. He dabbled in hunting and, by the time he was in high school, he was considered a local taxidermy expert. After college, he journeyed to New York where he begged for a job at the American Museum of Natural History, offering to scrub the floors in exchange for a position. His hard work, intelligence, and tenacity soon paid off, and Andrews began a series of expeditions ranging from a whaling excursion in the Pacific Northwest to a government-intelligence mission in the Far East. His adventures culminated in a voyage to Mongolia, where he and his team stumbled across one of the biggest finds in paleontological history: The Flaming Cliffs of the Gobi Desert, a veritable treasure trove of dinosaur fossils. Readers will be riveted by Andrews's exploits, including being marooned on a deserted island and surviving a typhoon in Japan. The text is supplemented by a few small photos.—Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School Library, Glen Ellyn, IL
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