ISBN is

978-0-670-89093-4 / 9780670890934

Dragon Hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central Asiatic Expeditions

by

Publisher:Viking Adult

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Roy Chapman Andrews was never much of a scholar, and anyone who looked at his high school report card might have foretold an undistinguished future. But, from an early age, Andrews's ambitions lay outside the social norm; an ardent fan of Robinson Crusoe and a devoted outdoorsman, Andrews wanted nothing more than to be an adventurer. He got his chance when he talked his way onto the staff of the American Museum of Natural History in 1906, under whose auspices, 15 years later, he was to mount the first of his central Asian expeditions. This decade-long program of exploration took Andrews and his team into the heart of the Gobi, one of the last uncharted regions on earth.

Convinced for ideological as much as scientific reasons that humans originated not in Africa but in Asia, Andrews spent much of his time in the field seeking evidence of early man. That search would prove fruitless, for, as biographer Charles Gallenkamp notes, "nary a scrap of genuinely ancient human bone was ever retrieved by the Central Asian Expeditions." What Andrews and his colleagues did find, however, has propelled dozens of scientific missions ever since: huge caches of dinosaur bones at places such as Mongolia's Flaming Cliffs. These fossils helped demonstrate geological connections between Asia and North America, and they added dozens of new species to the paleontological record.

All the while, Andrews contended with bandits, corrupt officials, invading armies, disease, and other dangers. After finishing Gallenkamp's vigorous book, readers will understand why Andrews should have served as the model for the movie character Indiana Jones--who, if anything, pales by comparison to the real thing. --Gregory McNamee

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