I spent a great morning at the American Museum of Natural History during my recent quick visit to New York to attend the Society of Animal Artists board meeting and show jury.
This time I wanted to sketch and once again see the fossils that Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expeditions brought back from Mongolia. I got to chatting with one of the volunteer docents and found that she knew the location of some Mongolia items that I hadn’t found on my previous visit in 2009.
The jackpot was an American flag that flew from one of the expedition vehicles. It was in a glass case that had been mounted on the wall in one of the stairwells, not exactly a prominent, easy to find location, so I appreciated the docent’s help a lot!
Here’s a “album” of photos from the museum, filled out with a couple from my previous trip, ending with a couple of iPad sketches I did.
American flag carried to the Gobi of Mongolia by one of Roy Chapman Andrews’ Central Asiatic Expeditions.
Closeup of the photo. I’ve helped push a vehicle or two on my trips, but without a dog to supervise.
The walls in the cafe closest to the Paleontology section are lined with photos of the Central Asiatic Expeditions to Mongolia. This one is of what Andrews dubbed “The Flaming Cliffs” which are located in an area the Mongols call Bayanzag (Place of the saxaul trees). I’m pretty sure I watched the sun go down along the lengthy of this butt in September of 2006. He used large caravans of camels to transport supplies and get them into position before the rest of the expedition arrived in motor cars.
Another photo from the cafe, this one showing the Expedition’s camp. The tents are “maikhan” or summer tents, which are lighter and even more portable than the better known felt gers.
Short profile of Roy Chapman Andrews. It has been speculated that he was one of the inspirations for Indiana Jones. And if you’ve read his biography, that’s not hard to believe, although there is no proof.
One of the fossils from Mongolia, a Psittacosaurus mongoliensis
Informational sign about the above fossil
Protoceratops fossil skulls of varying sizes; the expedition’s scientists found far more of these than any other species
A pair of protoceratops (image from 2009)
Although the Expeditions failed in their original goal, which was to find evidence that “man” had originated in Asia, not Africa, the find that electrified America was the discovery of the first known fossil dinosaur eggs. Andrews’ decision to sell one created a firestorm of controversy. (image from 2009)
Besides the flag, this was the other item from Mongolia that I’d missed on my previous trip, an amazing fossil of a female dinosaur which contains a egg with a recognizable embryo, something never before seen or found.
Finally, here are a couple of quick sketches I did of protoceratops skulls using ArtRage on my iPad.