The kelp gull known as the Dominican gull, is a gull which breeds on coasts and islands through much of the southern hemisphere. The nominate L. d. dominicanus is the subspecies found around South America, parts of Australia, New Zealand. L. d. vetula is a subspecies occurring around southern Africa. The specific name comes from the Dominican Order of friars, who wear white habits; the kelp gull superficially resembles two gulls from further north in the Atlantic Ocean, the lesser black-backed gull and the great black-backed gull and is intermediate in size between these two species. This species ranges from 54 to 65 cm in total length, from 128 to 142 cm in wingspan and from 540 to 1,390 g in weight. Adult males and females weigh on average 1,000 g and 900 g respectively. Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 37.3 to 44.8 cm, the bill is 4.4 to 5.9 cm and the tarsus is 5.3 to 7.5 cm. The adult kelp gull has black wings; the head, underparts and the small "mirrors" at the wing tips are white.
The bill is yellow with a red spot, the legs are greenish-yellow. The call is a strident ki-och. Juveniles have dull legs, a black bill, a dark band in the tail, an overall grey-brown plumage densely edged whitish, but they get a pale base to the bill and white head and underparts, they take four years to reach maturity. There are five subspecies of kelp gull; the African subspecies L. d. vetula is sometimes split as L. vetula. It has a smaller shorter bill; the adult has a dark eye, whereas the nominate kelp gull has a pale eye. Young Cape gulls have identical plumage to aged kelp gulls. L. d. dominicanus,: South America, South Georgia, Australia & New Zealand L. d. vetula,: southern Africa L. d. judithae,: subantarctic islands in the Indian Ocean L. d. melisandae,: southern & southwestern Madagascar L. d. austrinus,: Antarctica & Antarctic islands Kelp gulls are omnivores like most Larus gulls, they will scavenge as well as seek suitable small prey. They gather on landfills and a sharp increase in population is therefore considered as an indicator for a degraded environment.
Kelp gulls have been observed feeding on live right whales since at least 1996. The kelp gull uses its powerful beak to peck down centimetres into the skin and blubber leaving the whales with large open sores, some of which have been observed to be half a meter in diameter; this predatory behavior has been documented in Argentinian waters, continues today. At rocky sites along the southern African coast, such as at Boulders Beach in Cape Town, kelp gulls can be seen picking up shellfish and flying up several meters and dropping them onto the rocks below in order to break them open, they have been reported pecking the eyes out of seal pups on the coast of Namibia before attacking the blind seals in a group. The nest is a shallow depression on the ground lined with feathers; the female lays 2 or 3 eggs. Both parents feed the young birds; the Cape gull differs from other forms of kelp gulls by dark eye. * Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa ISBN 1-86872-721-1 Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds Kelp gull pictures on jostimages.com Specimens of Larus dominicanus in the collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Instituto Antártico Argentino
The Instituto Antártico Argentino is the Argentine federal agency in charge of orientating, controlling and performing scientific and technical research and studies in the Antarctic. Known as Argentine Antarctica the country claimed a sector as part of its national territory consisting of the Antarctic Peninsula and a triangular section extending to the South Pole, is delimited by the 25° West and 74° West meridians and the 60° South parallel. Administratively, Argentine Antarctica is a department of the province of Tierra del Fuego and South Atlantic Islands; this sector overlaps with Chilean and British claims but, under the Antarctic Treaty System, there are no attempts by Argentina or any other country to enforce territorial claims in Antarctica. According to the principles of its creation, the Instituto Antártico Argentino participates with its scientific and administrative staff, in a wide range of national and international programmes for a better understanding of the Antarctic. Scientists are trained and deployed on Argentine bases for researching on different fields of science, including Atmosphere, Oceanography, Chemistry, Ozone Layer, Global warming and CO2.
José María Sobral, considered in Argentina the father of the Argentine Antarctica and a national hero, began exploration at the end of 1901. In 1903, the Argentine Navy corvette ARA Uruguay commanded by Captain de Corbeta Julián Irízar rescued the Swedish expedition team of Otto Nordenskjöld. In 1904 the Argentine permanent presence in Antarctica began with the opening of Orcadas Base on Laurie Island. Argentina was the only nation to have an Antarctic base for 40 years until the British built a base on the same islands. On April 1, 1940, the first radio communication by radio hams was made between Orcadas Base and Buenos Aires. On February 7, 1942, an amphibious Stearman aircraft embarked on the ARA 1 de Mayo cargo ship made the first Argentine flight over Antarctica. On December 13, 1947 an Argentine Naval Aviation Douglas DC-4 piloted by Comodoro Gregorio Portillo flew over the Antarctic Circle in a 15 hours and 30 minutes flight. On 17 April 1951, Hernán Pujato founds the Instituto Antartico Argentino, by Decree Nº 7338.
In 1953 the San Martín Base started operations, Jubany base opened two years later. In 1958 the United States handed over the Ellsworth Station located in the Weddell Sea. In 1965 the Argentine military conducted a land military manoeuvre known as Operación 90 in order to reach the South Pole. In the winter of 1968 at the request by the British embassy in Buenos Aires, an Argentine Navy Douglas DC-4 delivered medical supplies to the British base EFE where one of its members, James K. Portwirie, was through a medical emergency. However, after a few days, Portwirie's situation worsened. An Argentine Air Force aircraft crashed without casualties. On August 9, in the middle of the Antarctic winter, the Argentine Navy icebreaker ARA General San Martín was sent to rescue Portwirie; the operation was successful, gaining the thanks of the British Antarctic Survey: ‘‘an internal campaign like this was never attempted before in Antarctic History‘‘. Marambio Base was founded in 1969 the most important Argentine base on the Antarctica.
In 1975 the Esperanza Base was built, in 1979 the General Belgrano II. In 1978, the first Antarctic baby, Emilio Palma, was born in the Fortín Sargento Cabral at the Esperanza Base. In 2002, the Argentine Navy mounted an internal operation sending Icebreaker ARA Almirante Irizar to rescue the trapped supply vessel Magdalena Oldendorff. Though Irízar failed to break the Oldendorff free, she managed to move it to a safe position and re-supply the ship with food and medical personnel until the ice melted and the ship could return to open sea. In 2003, under the Decree Nº 207/2003 issued by the Executive Power of Argentina, the Instituto Antártico Argentino became a part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs On the 2009 summer campaign, the Argentine Air Force operated the Teniente Matienzo Base only with women for three months although there was an emergency link available with the Bell 212s helicopters stationed at Marambio Base On 2010 a Wind generator designed and built by Argentine government company CITEDEF was installed on Marambio Base On 2011, three heavy lift helicopters were deployed in the Base Marambio: two Mil Mi 17 helicopters, the remaining Chinook from the Argentine Air Force.
Viviana Alder Argentine Antarctica History ARA San Martin Icebreaker official site official site
Uruguay the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Río de la Plata to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Uruguay is home to an estimated 3.44 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo. With an area of 176,000 square kilometres, Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America, after Suriname. Uruguay was inhabited by the Charrúa people for 4,000 years before the Portuguese established Colonia del Sacramento in 1680. Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the Spanish in the early 18th century, signifying the competing claims over the region. Uruguay won its independence between 1811 and 1828, following a four-way struggle between Spain and Argentina and Brazil, it remained subject to foreign influence and intervention throughout the 19th century, with the military playing a recurring role in domestic politics.
A series of economic crises put an end to a democratic period that had begun in the early 20th century, culminating in a 1973 coup, which established a civic-military dictatorship. The military government persecuted leftists and political opponents, resulting in several deaths and numerous instances of torture by the military. Uruguay is today a democratic constitutional republic, with a president who serves as both head of state and head of government. Uruguay is ranked first in Latin America in democracy, low perception of corruption, e-government, is first in South America when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class and prosperity. On a per-capita basis, Uruguay contributes more troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions than any other country, it tops the rank of absence of a unique position within South America. It ranks second in the region on economic freedom, income equality, per-capita income and inflows of FDI. Uruguay is the third-best country on the continent in terms of HDI, GDP growth and infrastructure.
It is regarded as a high-income country by the UN. Uruguay was ranked the third-best in the world in e-Participation in 2014. Uruguay is an important global exporter of combed wool, soybeans, frozen beef and milk. Nearly 95% of Uruguay's electricity comes from renewable energy hydroelectric facilities and wind parks. Uruguay is a founding member of the United Nations, OAS, Mercosur, UNASUR and NAM. Uruguay is regarded as one of the most advanced countries in Latin America, it ranks high on global measures of personal rights and inclusion issues. The Economist named Uruguay "country of the year" in 2013, acknowledging the policy of legalizing the production and consumption of cannabis; the name of the namesake river comes from the Spanish pronunciation of the regional Guarani word for it. There are several interpretations, including "bird-river"; the name could refer to a river snail called uruguá, plentiful in the water. In Spanish colonial times, for some time thereafter and some neighbouring territories were called the Cisplatina and Banda Oriental for a few years the "Eastern Province".
Since its independence, the country has been known as la República Oriental del Uruguay, which means "the eastern republic of the Uruguay ". However, it is translated either as the "Oriental Republic of Uruguay" or the "Eastern Republic of Uruguay"; the documented inhabitants of Uruguay before European colonization of the area were the Charrúa, a small tribe driven south by the Guarani of Paraguay. It is estimated that there were about 9,000 Charrúa and 6,000 Chaná and Guaraní at the time of contact with Europeans in the 1500s. Fructuoso Rivera - Uruguay's first president – organized the Charruas' genocide; the Portuguese were the first Europeans to enter the region of present-day Uruguay in 1512. The Spanish arrived in present-day Uruguay in 1516; the indigenous peoples' fierce resistance to conquest, combined with the absence of gold and silver, limited their settlement in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries. Uruguay became a zone of contention between the Spanish and Portuguese empires.
In 1603, the Spanish began to introduce cattle. The first permanent Spanish settlement was founded in 1624 at Soriano on the Río Negro. In 1669–71, the Portuguese built a fort at Colonia del Sacramento. Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold in the country, its natural harbor soon developed into a commercial area competing with Río de la Plata's capital, Buenos Aires. Uruguay's early 19th century history was shaped by ongoing fights for dominance in the Platine region, between British, Spanish and other colonial forces. In 1806 and 1807, the British army attempted to seize Buenos Aires and Montevideo as part of the Napoleonic Wars. Montevideo was occupied by a British force from February to September 1807. In 1811, José Gervasio Artigas, who became Uruguay's national hero, launched a successful revolt against the Spanish authorities, defeating them on 18 May at the Battle of Las Piedras. In 1813, the new government in Buenos Aires convened a constituent assembly where Artigas emerged as a champ
Research stations in Antarctica
A number of governments have set up permanent research stations in Antarctica and these bases are distributed. Unlike the drifting ice stations set up in the Arctic, the research stations of the Antarctic are constructed either on rock or on ice, fixed in place. Many of the stations are staffed around the year. A total of 42 countries, all signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, operate seasonal and year-round research stations on the continent; the population of people performing and supporting scientific research on the continent and nearby islands varies from 4,000 during the summer season to 1,000 during winter. In addition to these permanent stations 30 field camps are established each summer to support specific projects. During the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration in the late 19th century, the first bases on the continent were established. In 1898, Carsten Borchgrevink, a Norwegian/British explorer, led the British Antarctic Expedition to Cape Adare, where he established the first Antarctic base on Ridley Beach.
The expedition is referred to now as the'Southern Cross' Expedition, after their ship's name. Most of the staff were Norwegian, but the funds for the expedition were British, provided by Sir George Newnes; the 10 members of the expedition explored Robinson Bay to the west of Cape Adare by dog teams, after being picked up by the ship at the base, went ashore on the Ross Ice Shelf for brief journeys. The expedition hut is still in good condition and visited by tourists; the hut was occupied by Scott's Northern Party under the command of Victor Campbell for a year in 1911, after its attempt to explore the eastern end of the ice shelf discovered Roald Amundsen ashore preparing for his assault on the South Pole. In 1903, Dr William S. Bruce's Scottish National Antarctic Expedition set off to Antarctica, with one of its aims to establish a meteorological station in the area. After the expedition failed to find land, Bruce decided to head back to the Laurie Island in the South Orkneys and find an anchorage there.
The islands were well-situated as a site for a meteorological station, their relative proximity to the South American mainland allowed a permanent station to be established. Bruce instituted a comprehensive programme of work, involving meteorological readings, trawling for marine samples, botanical excursions, the collection of biological and geological specimens; the major task completed during this time was the construction of a stone building, christened "Omond House". This was to act as living accommodation for the parties that would remain on Laurie Island to operate the proposed meteorological laboratory; the building was constructed from local materials using the dry stone method, with a roof improvised from wood and canvas sheeting. The completed house was 20 feet by 20 feet square, with two windows, fitted as quarters for six people. Rudmose Brown wrote: "Considering that we had no mortar and no masons' tools it is a wonderfully fine house and lasting. I should think it will be standing a century hence..."Bruce offered to Argentina the transfer of the station and instruments on the condition that the government committed itself to the continuation of the scientific mission.
Bruce informed the British officer William Haggard of his intentions in December 1903, Haggard ratified the terms of Bruce proposition. The Scotia sailed back for Laurie Island on 14 January 1904 carrying on board Argentinean officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Meteorological Office, Ministry of Livestock and National Postal and Telegraphs Office. In 1906, Argentina communicated to the international community the establishment of a permanent base on South Orkney Islands. Little happened for the following forty years until the Second World War, when the British launched Operation Tabarin in 1943, to establish a presence on the continent; the chief reason was to establish solid British claims to various uninhabited islands and parts of Antarctica, reinforced by Argentine sympathies toward Germany. Prior to the start of the war, German aircraft had dropped markers with swastikas across Queen Maud Land in an attempt to create a territorial claim, see New Swabia. Led by Lieutenant James Marr, the 14-strong team left the Falkland Islands in two ships, HMS William Scoresby and Fitzroy, on Saturday January 29, 1944.
Marr had accompanied the British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton on his final Antarctic expedition in 1921 - 1922. Bases were established during February near the abandoned Norwegian whaling station on Deception Island, where the Union Flag was hoisted in place of Argentine flags, at Port Lockroy on the coast of Graham Land. A further base was founded at Hope Bay on February 13, 1945, after a failed attempt to unload stores on February 7, 1944; these bases were the first to be constructed on the mainland Antarctica. The Operation provoked a massive expansion in international activity after the war. Chile organized its First Chilean Antarctic Expedition in 1947–48. Among other accomplishments, it brought the Chilean president Gabriel González Videla to inaugurate one of its bases, thereby becoming the first head of state to set foot on the continent. Signy Research Station was established in 1947, Australia's Mawson Station in 1954, Dumont d'Urville Station was the first French station in 1956.
In that same year, the United States built McMurdo Station and Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, the Soviet Union built Mirny Station. The United States maintains the southernmost Base and the largest base and research station in Antarctica, Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station; the second-southernmost base is the Chinese Kunlun Statio
British Antarctic Survey
The British Antarctic Survey is the United Kingdom's national Antarctic operation. It is part of the Natural Environment Research Council. With over 400 staff, BAS takes an active role in Antarctic affairs, operating five research stations, two ships and five aircraft in both polar regions, as well as addressing key global and regional issues; this involves joint research projects with over 40 UK universities and more than 120 national and international collaborations. Having taken shape from activities during World War II, it was known as the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey until 1962. Operation Tabarin was a small British expedition in 1943 to establish permanently occupied bases in the Antarctic, it was a joint undertaking by the Colonial Office. At the end of the war it was renamed the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey and full control passed to the Colonial Office. At this time there were three occupied and one unoccupied. By the time FIDS was renamed the British Antarctic Survey in 1962, 19 stations and three refuges had been established.
In 2012 the parent body, NERC, proposed merging the BAS with another NERC institute, National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. This proved controversial, after the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee opposed the move the plan was dropped. 1945 – 1948: Edward W. Bingham 1958 – 1973: Vivian Fuchs 1973 – May 1987: Richard Laws 1987 – 1994: David Drewry 1994 – 1997: Barry Heywood 1998 – 2007: Chris Rapley 2007 – May 2012: Nick Owens November 2012 – September 2013: Alan Rodger October 2013: Jane Francis The BAS operates five permanent research stations in the British Antarctic Territory: Rothera Research Station on Adelaide Island Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf Signy Research Station on Signy Island Fossil Bluff logistics facility on Alexander Island Sky Blu logistics facility in Ellsworth LandOf these Research Stations, only Rothera and Halley are manned throughout the year. Halley VI was closed for the March 2017 winter after relocation due to safety concerns when a inactive crack, "Chasm 1", in the Brunt Ice shelf began to expand in the direction of the base.
The base was closed again in March 2018 with similar concerns. The remaining bases are manned only during the Antarctic summer; the BAS operates two permanent bases on South Georgia: King Edward Point Research Station at King Edward Point Bird Island Research Station on Bird IslandBoth South Georgia bases are manned throughout the year. The headquarters of the BAS are on Madingley Road; this facility provides offices and workshops to support the scientific and logistic activities in the Antarctic. The BAS operates the Ny-Ålesund Research Station on behalf of the NERC; this is an Arctic research base located at Ny-Ålesund on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. BAS operates two ships in support of its Antarctic research programme. Whilst both vessels have research and supply capabilities, the RRS James Clark Ross is an oceanographic research ship, whilst RRS Ernest Shackleton is a logistics ship used for the resupply of scientific stations. James Clark Ross replaced RRS John Biscoe in 1991 and Ernest Shackleton was the successor to RRS Bransfield in 1999.
Both vessels depart from the United Kingdom in September or October of each year, return to the United Kingdom in the following May or June. Both vessels undergo refit and drydock during the Antarctic winter, but are used elsewhere during this period. James Clark Ross undertakes scientific research on behalf of other organisations in the Arctic, whilst Ernest Shackleton is chartered into commercial survey work; the two civilian ships operated by the BAS are complemented by the capabilities of the Royal Navy's ice patrol vessel that operates in the same waters. Until 2008 this was a Class 1A1 icebreaker. Endurance's two Lynx helicopters enabled BAS staff to get to remote field sites that BAS aircraft could not access. However, a catastrophic flooding accident left Endurance badly damaged, with a replacement only being procured in 2011; this ship, HMS Protector, first deployed to the Antarctic in November 2011. In April 2014 the government authorised the procurement by BAS of a new large Antarctic research vessel at an estimated cost of £200 million, expected to be in service in 2019.
BAS operates five aircraft in support of its research programme in Antarctica. The aircraft used are all made by de Havilland Canada and comprise four Twin Otters and one Dash 7; the planes are maintained by Rocky Mountain Aircraft in Springbank, Canada. During the Antarctic summer the aircraft are based at the Rothera base, which has a 900-metre gravel runway. During the Antarctic winter, conditions preclude the aircraft return to Canada; the larger Dash 7 undertakes regular shuttle flights between either Port Stanley Airport on the Falkland Islands, or Punta Arenas in Chile, Rothera. It operates to and from the ice runway at the Sky Blu base; the smaller Twin Otters are equipped with skis for landing on snow and ice in remote areas, operate out of the bases at Rothera, Fossil Bluff and Sky Blu. In January 2008, a team of British Antarctic Survey scientists, led by Hugh Corr and David Vaughan, reported that 2,200 years ago, a volcano erupted under Antarctica's ice sheet; the biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years, the volcanic ash was found deposited on the ice surface under the Hudson Mountains, close to Pine Island Glacier.
The British Antarctic Survey were responsible for the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. The discovery was made
Penguins are a group of aquatic flightless birds. They live exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species, the Galapagos penguin, found north of the equator. Adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, their wings have evolved into flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish and other forms of sea life which they catch while swimming underwater, they spend half of their lives on land and the other half in the sea. Although all penguin species are native to the Southern Hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, one species, the Galápagos penguin, lives near the equator; the largest living species is the emperor penguin: on average, adults are about 1.1 m tall and weigh 35 kg. The smallest penguin species is the little blue penguin known as the fairy penguin, which stands around 40 cm tall and weighs 1 kg.
Among extant penguins, larger penguins inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins are found in temperate or tropical climates. Some prehistoric species attained enormous sizes, becoming as heavy as an adult human; these were not restricted to Antarctic regions. The word penguin first appears in the 16th century as a synonym for great auk; when European explorers discovered what are today known as penguins in the Southern Hemisphere, they noticed their similar appearance to the great auk of the Northern Hemisphere, named them after this bird, although they are not related. The etymology of the word penguin is still debated; the English word is not of French, Breton or Spanish origin, but first appears in English or Dutch. Some dictionaries suggest a derivation from Welsh pen, "head" and gwyn, "white", including the Oxford English Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, the Century Dictionary and Merriam-Webster, on the basis that the name was applied to the great auk, either because it was found on White Head Island in Newfoundland, or because it had white circles around its eyes.
An alternative etymology links the word to Latin pinguis, which means "fat" or "oil". Support for this etymology can be found in the alternative Germanic word for penguin, fettgans or "fat-goose", the related Dutch word vetgans. Adult male penguins are called cocks, females hens; the number of extant penguin species is debated. Depending on which authority is followed, penguin biodiversity varies between 17 and 20 living species, all in the subfamily Spheniscinae; some sources consider the white-flippered penguin a separate Eudyptula species, while others treat it as a subspecies of the little penguin. It is still unclear whether the royal penguin is a colour morph of the macaroni penguin; the status of the rockhopper penguins is unclear. Updated after Marples, Acosta Hospitaleche, Ksepka et al.. Subfamily Spheniscinae – modern penguins Aptenodytes – great penguins King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus Emperor penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri Pygoscelis – brush-tailed penguins Adélie penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae Chinstrap penguin, Pygoscelis antarctica Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua Eudyptula – little penguins Little blue penguin, Eudyptula minor Australian little penguin, Eudyptula novaehollandiae White-flippered penguin, Eudyptula albosignata Spheniscus – banded penguins Magellanic penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus Humboldt penguin, Spheniscus humboldti Galapagos penguin, Spheniscus mendiculus African penguin, Spheniscus demersus Megadyptes Yellow-eyed penguin, Megadyptes antipodes †Waitaha penguin, Megadyptes waitaha Eudyptes – crested penguins Fiordland penguin, Eudyptes pachyrynchus Snares penguin, Eudyptes robustus Erect-crested penguin, Eudyptes sclateri Southern rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes chrysocome Eastern rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes filholi Northern rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes moseleyi Royal penguin, Eudyptes schlegeli Macaroni penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus †Chatham penguin, Eudyptes chathamensis Order Sphenisciformes Basal and unresolved taxa Anthropodyptes Arthrodytes Aprosdokitos Hospitaleche, Reguero & Santillana 2017 Crossvallia Ichthyopteryx Wiman 1905 Inguza Kaiika Fordyce & Tomas 2011 Korora Nucleornis Orthopteryx Wiman 1905 Palaeoapterodytes Pseudaptenodytes Tasidyptes Van Tets & O’Connor 1983 nomen dubium Tereingaornis Tonniornis Wimanornis Spheniscidae Waimanu Jones, Ando & Fordyce 2006 Kumimanu Mayr, 2017 Delphinornis Wiman 1905 Marambiornis Myrcha e
Johan Gunnar Andersson
Johan Gunnar Andersson was a Swedish archaeologist and geologist associated with the beginnings of Chinese archaeology in the 1920s. After studies at Uppsala University, research in the polar regions, Andersson served as Director of Sweden's National Geological Survey, he participated in the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901 to 1903. His work on the Falkland Islands and the Bjørnøya, where he first coined the term solifluction, influenced Walery Łoziński create the concept of periglaciation in 1909. In 1914 he was invited to China as mining adviser to the Chinese government, his affiliation was with China's National Geological Survey, organized and led by the Chinese scholar Ding Wenjiang and his colleague Wong Wen-hao. During this time, Andersson helped train China’s first generation of geologists, made numerous discoveries of iron ore and other mining resources, as well as discoveries in geology and paleontology. Andersson paid his first visit to Zhoukoudian in 1918 drawn to an area called "Chicken Bone Hill" by locals who had misidentified the rodent fossils found in abundance there.
He returned in 1921 and was led by local quarrymen to Dragon Bone Hill where he identified quartz, not local to the area. Realising that this may indicate the presence of prehistoric man he set his assistant, Otto Zdansky, to work excavating. Zdansky returned for further excavations in 1923 and a great deal of material was shipped to Uppsala for analysis. In 1926, on the occasion of a visit by the Swedish Prince to Beijing, Andersson announced the discovery of two human teeth; these were identified as being the first finds of the Peking Man. In collaboration with Chinese colleagues such as Yuan Fuli and others, he discovered prehistoric Neolithic remains in central China’s Henan Province, along the Yellow River; the remains were named Yangshao culture after the village where they were first excavated, in 1921. This too was a important breakthrough, since the prehistory of what is now China had not yet been investigated in scientific archaeological excavations and the Yangshao and other prehistoric cultures were unknown.
In the following years, 1923–24, Andersson, in his capacity as a staff member of China's National Geological Survey, conducted archaeological excavations in the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai, again in collaboration with Chinese colleagues, published numerous books and scientific papers on Chinese archaeology, many in the Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, which he founded and launched in 1929, where he published his most significant scientific reports on his own work. Andersson's most well-known book about his time in China is Den gula jordens barn, 1932, translated into several languages, including English and Korean. For an extensive bibliography of Andersson's works, a comprehensive discussion of his and his colleagues' archaeological research in China, see M. Fiskesjö and Chen Xingcan, China before China: Johan Gunnar Andersson, Ding Wenjiang, the Discovery of China's Prehistory. Stockholm: Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 2004. In 1926, Andersson founded the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, Sweden, a national museum established to house the Swedish part of the collections from these first-ever scientific archaeological excavations in China.
Andersson served as the director of the MFEA until he was succeeded in 1939 by the famous Swedish Sinologist Bernhard Karlgren. Selections of the Swedish portion of the materials is on display at the MFEA in a new permanent exhibit launched 2004; the Chinese part of the Andersson collections, according to a bilateral Sino-Swedish agreement, was returned by him to the Chinese government in seven shipments, 1927-1936. The first shipments were sent by Andersson to Peking, the last ones to Nanjing, which had become the new capital of China. An exhibit with these objects was mounted at the new National Geological Survey complex in Nanjing, where Andersson saw them in 1937, the last time they were reported seen by anyone; the last documentary evidence of these objects was a 1948 Visitors Guide to the Geological Survey museum in Nanjing, which listed Andersson's Yangshao artefacts among the exhibits. The objects were long thought to be irretrievably lost in the civil war that followed, until 2002. After major renovations at the Geological Museum of China, the successor to the Geological Survey's museum, staff found three crates of ceramic vessels and fragments while re-organising items in storage.
Following contact with the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm, it was confirmed that these were indeed left from Andersson's excavations. In 2006, these objects featured in an exhibition at the Geological Museum on the occasion of its 90th anniversary, celebrating the lives and work of Andersson and its other founders. In 2007, the Geological Museum of China published a documentary film. Still, as of 2010, the vast majority of the objects returned to China by Andersson remain lost; this includes a spectacular and unique human-faced ceramic shaman head, numerous spectacular painted ceramic vessels. Though similar such ceramics have been excavated since Andersson's time by Chinese archaeologists, these lost collections hold a special interest and value since they derive from the first