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Exploring Annie Alexander’s Saurian Expedition of 1905

Top: Annie Alexander watches Eustace Furlong in a quarry on the east slope of Saurian Hill. Bottom: The approximate location of the same quarry today. Top photo from Alexander’s Saurian Expedition of 1905 scrapbook, UCMP archives; bottom photo by David Smith.

Top: Annie Alexander watches Eustace Furlong in a quarry on the east slope of Saurian Hill. Bottom: The approximate location of the same quarry today. Top photo from Alexander’s Saurian Expedition of 1905 scrapbook, UCMP archives; bottom photo by David Smith.

In 1905 UCMP benefactress Annie Alexander financed and took part in an expedition to the West Humboldt Mountains of Nevada to collect vertebrate fossils in the Triassic limestones. The crew came home with portions of some 25 ichthyosaur skeletons. Alexander put together a scrapbook containing her chronicle of the trip and many photographs; the scrapbook was given to UCMP following Alexander’s death in 1950 and is one of the most treasured items in the museum’s archives.

Up until now, the scrapbook has only been accessible to a handful of researchers, but the text has been transcribed, the photographs scanned, and a pdf is now available online.

Earlier this year, UCMP retiree David Smith revisited the West Humboldt Mountains and successfully relocated some of the quarries where Alexander et al. collected their ichthyosaur fossils. His adventure, with several “then and now” photographs, has recently been posted.

Alexander was one of seven participants in the 1905 expedition. You can learn more about the lives of her companions in another new story.

Links to the scrapbook and associated stories can be found on The Saurian Expedition of 1905 page.