1921 - 1930
“These expeditions went into Mongolia to explore the Gobi Desert, seek the ancestry of man, and study the natural history of the region. With the aid of a fleet of motor cars, a supporting caravan of camels and a well-organized scientific staff, the expeditions of 1922, 1923, 1925, 1928 and 1930 covered practically all of the fields of desert exploration” (1). Roy Chapman Andrews had explored the regions of China and Mongolia in two previous trips. The First Asiatic Zoological Expedition (1916-1917) was largely zoological in scope and was restricted to the Chinese provinces of Fukien and Yunnan. The Second Asiatic Zoological Expedition went into Mongolia in 1919, and was also zoological in nature. Andrews considered these preparatory steps in his larger proposal to launch an extended, large scale expedition into Mongolia (2). They are often grouped as part of the overarching Central Asiatic Expeditions. After obtaining the support of the Museum, Andrews was able to gather enough sponsorship to make his plan a reality by 1921. It was known as the Third Asiatic Expedition until approximately 1925, when the name was changed to Central Asiatic Expeditions (3). Andrews supervised all activity, which was comprised of five distinct summer collecting seasons in the Gobi desert, as well as winter seasons. Additionally, herpetologist Clifford Pope spent his time collecting in areas of southern China such as Fukien Province and Hainan Island. The 1922 Expedition traveled from Kalgan to Urga, then southwest to Tsagan Nor in the Altai region and back to Kalgan. In 1923, exploration efforts focused on exploiting the fossil fields discovered in Inner Mongolia and the eastern Altai region of Outer Mongolia. The 1925 exploration included forty men, and the main party traveled as far northwest as Orok Nor. The 1928 Expedition was conducted entirely in Inner Mongolia. In 1930, the work was confined to vertebrate paleontology, geology and topography, and was performed from camps near the Outer Mongolian border. The expeditions gathered astaggering body of observations, records, measurements, photographs, films, and collections as materials for the American Museum of Natural History and scientific papers in publication. They made many historic discoveries, including the first dinosaur eggs. The Expeditions were memorable as well for the use of automobiles in their work, and Andrews’ inexhaustive promotion and fundraising efforts, which included yearly speaking tours, sponsorships and even auctioning one of the dinosaur eggs.
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