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The "Saurian Expedition" of 1905

In May and June of 1905, Annie Alexander financed a paleontological expedition to the West Humboldt Range in Nevada, to explore the Triassic limestones of the region. The expedition, under the leadership of Professor John C. Merriam, was a great success; twenty-five specimens of ichthyosaurs, including some of the largest in the world and the most complete ever found in North America, were brought back to Berkeley.

Miss Alexander participated in the expedition, and later wrote an account of it, illustrated with her own photographs, which is now in the UCMP archives. Some excerpts are presented here. Click on any of the pictures to view larger versions.

"We chose the site of a deserted miner's cabin for our camping ground where fine water was to be had close at hand. The cabin provided a capital storage place for our provisions. We turned the wide bench on either side of the interior, evidently sleeping bunks, into sideboards and nearly all of our cooking was done in the big open fireplace though it did smoke abominably at times."
"...the resurrection call aroused another Saurian from his long sleep. After a course in purgatory in which he will be divested of his limestone encasement he ought to shine as one of the foremost lights in the new museum at Berkeley, for he was a saurian of truly lordly proportions.... For two days I watched with fascinated eyes the work of excavation.... The specimen was measured and found to be twenty-five feet long."
"Little by little the blocks were marked and wrapped and packed down to camp on the backs of our horses."
"We were still at work on the S.W. slope when Prof. Smith of Stanford joined us for a week's ammonite-hunt.... Now Prof. Smith is a very enthusiastic man. He claims that Heaven has no attractions for him unless there are ammonites there and be they stout or thin, spiney or smooth, he handles them alike lovingly and searches for them untiringly."

Annie Alexander bio  |   The Annie Montague Alexander Papers
 

Originaly created by Ben M. Waggoner, 7/96. All photos from Annie Alexander's 1905 Saurian Expedition scrapbook, UCMP archives.