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Back to the Gobi was now our battle cry for one of the longest paleontological campaigns in history. With the onset ofthe 1995 season it had also become one of the biggest paleontological expeditions in history. Our team this year was a pastiche of regulars and new recruits, as well as a group of writers, photographers, and filmmakers from National Geographic. On July 1, 1995 1,833 days since I first struck out with Dashzeveg, Mark, and Malcolm for the Flaming Cliffs we launched the sixth Mongolian Academy-American Museum Paleontological Expedition, leaving Ulaan Baatar with a remarkably ordered train of twelve vehicles and thirty people. Barsbold, who waved goodbye to us outside our compound next to the Natural History Museum, observed that it was possibly the largest assem
As we have seen, the 1970s were a time of intellectual ferment in paleontology, and for the dinosaur-loving public, nobody embodied those fresh winds of change more than Robert T. Bakker (b. 1945 Figure 14.10a). In a field historically known for bookish indifference to fame, Bakker has been a ubiquitous media presence so much so that he was recognizably caricatured as Dr Robert Burke in Jurassic Park II. Bearded, long-haired, and dressed for battle in his field-ready best1 (belying degrees from Yale and Harvard), Bakker was filled with amazing ideas about birds, dinosaurs and their world. A highly competent prose stylist (described in Harper's Magazine as by far the most gifted writer in his profession 2) and a talented illustrator, Bakker was distinctive, articulate and out to change ideas. And with his forcible advocacy of endothermy in dinosaurs, he surely has. As he has grown older, Bakker has continued to be a magnetic personality, and is the author of a thought-provoking popular...
But it was in this age that fossils got their name. Georgius Agricola (1494-1555), the first professional mineralogist, used the Latin word fossilis in his great work on systematic mineralogy, De natura fossilium, published in 1546. To Agricola, fossilis meant anything dug up from the earth later writers picked up the word from him and distilled its meaning to include only what we now call fossils.
By June 19,1991, our team, as well as the vehicles and equipment, were assembled, and we were ready to enter the Gobi on our first full-fledged expedition. But the expedition launch was rather piecemeal. Dashzeveg could not get a GAZ truck from the Academy in time for our scheduled departure. We decided to strike out ahead and let Dash intersect with us later, at the oasis of Naran Bulak in early July. Our three Mitsubishis carried ten people, including our Mongolian dinosaur specialist Altangerel Perle and his son Chimbald, as well as the New York Times writer John Noble Wilford and photographer Fred Conrad. We loaded up the interior of the vehicles with gear and food, and piled lighter supplies such as cans of freeze-dried food on the roof rack. Mark, traveling with Dr. Jim Clark, a tall, sharp-eyed paleontologist who was doing postdoctoral work at the American Museum, had the honor of piloting our Molotov Cocktail, a red Mitsu carrying a 50-gallon drum full of 93 octane gasoline in...
English writer Arthur Conan Doyle once dreamed of a plateau in South America that time forgot, where dinosaurs continued to reign. Reports in the early 1990s that dwarf mammoths survived to early historical times, on islands off the coast of Siberia, give force to such speculation. If dinosaurs found a similar haven in which they outlived the rest of their kind, then we think polar Gondwana, including southeastern Australia, is a likely place to look. 0
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