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A true story of discovery and discoverers in what was the northern frontier region of Mexico in the years before the Mexican War. In 1826 the region was claimed by both Mexico and the United States. Berlandier [ca. 1805–51], a French naturalist, was part of a team sent out by the Mexican Boundary Commission to explore the area. His role was to collect specimens of flora and fauna and to record detailed observations of the landscapes and peoples through which the exploring party traveled. His observations, including sketches and paintings of plants, landmarks, and American Indians, were the first compendium of scientific observations of the region to be collected and eventually published.