Will the real Indiana Jones please stand up?
Everyone’s favorite archeologist adventurer dusts off his hat and trusty whip for yet another globetrotting trek. We’ve seen him trudge through the dangerous Peruvian jungle (complete with an oversized rolling boulder) and as far reached as Soviet Russia. His death defying adventures are far fetched, but there is an even bigger story hidden in the journey. The legendary Dr. Henry “Indiana” Walton Jones Jr. is a fictional character based on the exploits of a real man: Roy Chapman Andrews.
Roy Chapman Andrews is an inspirational explorer, adventurer, and naturalist. His name is not commonly spoken even though his exploration has given us the knowledge we hold common today. His discoveries have changed history as we know it. Because of him, we have a better understanding of dinosaurs, the ice age, and the history of our planet.
To his name are credit of several ancient, amazing animals. The Andrewsarchus mongoliensis (Pictured above) was discovered on one of Andrews’ explorations of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Only its skull was found so the representations available are guesses as to what the animal would have looked like. In addition to that, the famous protoceratops was first found by Andrews (also known as protoceratops andrewsi to honor Andrews, and separate the protoceratops types; pictured below). His men discovered the first known dinosaur eggs, several protoceratops and numerous bone fragments. Most of the animal bone fragments he discovered took years (decades) to actually articulate and place in correct genera, so he did not get the benefit of having them named after him. However, the handful of animals he found are common names among dinosaur experts and enthusiastic child explorers alike. His team discovered the first known bones for Baluchitherium, (also known asIndricotheriumandParaceratherium) Ovirapto, pinacosaurus, saurornithoides, and velocirator
"Ever since I remember I always intended to be a naturalist and explorer. Nothing else ever had a place in my mind".
Despite his world renowned position, Roy Chapman Andrews was a man with humble beginnings. He was born January 26th 1884 in Beloit, Wisconsin. As his previous quote suggests, he was a man with big dreams, and the determination to pull them off. His inspirational career began at the American museum of natural history in 1906 after he hopped on a train to New York and smooth-talked his way into a job. He did not get the position one would expect of a man like him. He started at the bottom; he was so resolute to work at the American museum of natural history that he took a position cleaning floors and assisting in the taxidermy department.
The determined man quickly rose up in the ranks and for several years Andrews was traveling across the sea for the museums research. He was collecting snakes, lizards, and observing marine animals, even though he disliked snakes (much like the fictional character counterpart Indian Jones). He continued to be a rising star even through military enlistment due to World war I. During his travels he became captivated by Asia.
Andrews with his wife
After years of planning, fundraising and general work travels for the museum, he was finally granted permission to lead his first expedition. He and his wife, Yvette (whom he met and married in 1914. Pictured above and below) left for their dangerous journey in 1922. He subsequently led four later expeditions which inspired the stories for Indiana Jones. Daily activities included protecting him and his men from bandits, dealing with political instability, and even warring tribes of Asia. He was initially trying to find the origin of man, but wound up finding much, much more.
In 1930, Andrews was forced to leave his expeditions due to civil war. It was too dangerous to continue, and Asia closed the area to western explorers until 1990. He returned home and made a name for himself. His career inspired millions then and now. He wrote a plethora of books and lived a full live until the age of 76.
Roy Chapman Andrews changed the world as we know it through determination and dreams. His research and travels have inspired millions. He may still continue to inspire people who learn the truth about Indiana Jones