We spend so much time here debunking silly things we see in fiction that it's easy to forget how truly ridiculous real life is in comparison. Even the silliest, most implausible characters or plots from action movies have come true. Not often, mind you, but they do happen. We're talking about things like ...
6Badass Adventurer Scientists
Indiana Jones movies, The Mummy movies, The Da Vinci Code movies, those Nicholas Cage movies that basically rip off The Da Vinci Code -- they all feature ridiculous but popular characters: university professors who throw away their mortarboards and "research" history by punching it right in the goddamn face. Truly, being an academic is one incredible Nazi-fighting adventure after another.
"Before you start killing everyone, would you mind fact-checking my thesis on Ancient Egyptian religion?"
Nobody believes it's really like this, or at least we hope not. Otherwise you'll get your archaeology degree and cry yourself to sleep for the remainder of your boring life.
But It Has Happened ...
Meet Roy Chapman Andrews, the rumored real-life inspiration for Indiana Jones, who divided his time between searching for fossils and gun-fighting with Mongolian bandits.
"I try to carry at least one thing that could impale a Nazi at all times."
Beginning his career sweeping the floors of the American Natural History Museum in New York, Andrews eventually worked his way up to director of the museum and became an accomplished hunter of dinosaur fossils, even where those fossils were guarded by gun-toting brigands. After all, they belong in a museum. One anecdote tells of the time Andrews battled a 20-foot-long python, ultimately shooting it in the head and watching its dying body writhe and flail in the underbrush. Apparently he didn't think much of snakes, either.
"You're my next hat."
There's now an award named after Andrews, given every year to people who continue his legacy of giving zero fucks in their quest for scientific kickassery. Winners include Lonnie and Ellen Mosely-Thompson, who explore "the most inhospitable places on the planet" in hot air balloons and on yaks, and once dragged a bunch of ice cores across the Gobi Desert simply because that seemed like something that couldn't be done. Then you have Mark Moffett, adventurer entomologist, who apparently once fought off Colombian drug lords with a blowgun.
And discovered this thing. We'd probably go another round with the Colombians.