ABOUT MONGOLIA
CENTRAL ASIAN MOUNTAIN SYSTEM

THE CAPITAL CITY

IMPORTANT ITEMS MONGOLIAN
CULTURAL


KHARKHORUM MIGHT BE THE
GEOLOGICAL GENETIC CENTER OF
MONGOLIA


DINOSAUR FOSSILS

ALTAI TAVAN BOGD

MONGOLIAN CULTURE:
Music, fine art, dance


MONGOLIAN WILDLIFE

THE LAND

PREHISTORIC POPULATIONS OF MONGOLIA
DINOSAUR FOSSILS
Mongolia is the second country in the world with its reserves of dinosaur fossils.



Roy Andrews, an American explorer became known worldwide due his discovery of a wealth of dinosaur fossils in the Mongolian Gobi, and he significantly contributed to the then Mongolian studies. Owing to his discoveries, the world became to know the Mongolian Gobi was a giant palaentology museum. One of his merits was to introduce the original name “Gobi” into the world geography without a change.

The most famous finds dispalyed at the Natural Museum in Ulaanbaater are “herbivorous and flesh-eating dinosaurs locked in deadly fight”, “herbivorous Zavrodes pelvic bones”, “bunch of Protoceratop died youngs” and “nest of twin eggs”.

A detailed narration on the dinosaur exploration and valuable finds is provided separately with the issue of this magazine.

Once, Ts. Damdinsuren, one of our famous scholars said:

There is a treasure in the harsh Gobi
There is a learning in a lame old man
There is a book in a black wooden box
Never look down on.

Mongolia is one of the few countries in the world rich in dinosaur fossils. The Mongolian Gobi is famous for its remarkable finds of dinosaurs. The Mongolian Gobi preserves millions of year history.

In the Gobi we've discovered many finds such as Stone Age tools, Bronze Age memorials, Turkic burial mounds, weapons and coins from Chinggis Khaan era, also Chinese plastic items. The most valuable and ancient finds are dinosaur fossils. It is amazing that 80 million year dinosaur fossils have been well preserved. It is hard to distinguish pieces of dinosaur fossil bones scattered over Gobi sand from animal bones. No doubt, the Gobi inhabitants used to see dinosaur fossils around for many thousands of years. However, they never disturbed these fossils. The Gobi nomads believed that bones were of dragons, legendary creatures commonly known among the oriental peoples. Nowadays, the local research museums in Gobi soums keep a section of rare and valuable paleontological finds.

The initial modern field exploration of dinosaur fossils in Mongolia was undertaken by a team of the American Museum of Natural History in 1922. The team named as the Central Asian Research Crew expected to find the ancestors of humans, also to study botany, zoology, cartography, archeology, geology and ecology.

The team was led by Roy Chapman Andrews who was one of the leading explorers of this time. And expeditions followed in 1923, 1925, 1928 and 1930.

Expecting to find the "missing link" for human evolution, the team found a wealth of mammal and dinosaur fossils in 1922. As it was the last day of expedition in Mongolia, the team picked up few finds and returned to Beijing. The place became known in the world under the name “Flaming Cliff” of Bayanzag. They named the site “Flaming Cliff” because of the red color of stones which looked like a fire in the middle of desert from distance.

In 1923 the American expedition returned to Bayanzag. One of the first finds was the first-ever complete nest of dinosaur eggs. The team's discoveries amazed the world. The world became to know that dinosaurs laid eggs. In addition, the expedition discovered three new types of dinosaurs. These were Oviraptor, Velociraptor and Saurornithoides. Andrews wrote in his notebook: “three types of flesh-eating dinosaurs were discovered, central Mongolia”. In further description of these creatures, he wrote how an oviraptor died while steeling herbivorous protoceratop egg. The oviraptor fossil was found over a dinosaur nest, and scholars judged it to be a nest of an herbivorous protoceratop at this time. However, 70 years later scholars established that it was oviraptor's own nest, not of a protoceratop, and the creature died hatching eggs like birds nowadays.

The team's discoveries amazed the world. The world became to know that dinosaurs laid eggs. In addition, the expedition discovered three new types of dinosaurs. These were Oviraptor, Velociraptor and Saurornithoides. Andrews wrote in his notebook: “three types of flesh-eating dinosaurs were discovered, central Mongolia”. In further description of these creatures, he wrote how an oviraptor died while steeling herbivorous protoceratop egg. The oviraptor fossil was found over a dinosaur nest, and scholars judged it to be a nest of an herbivorous protoceratop at this time. However, 70 years later scholars established that it was oviraptor's own nest, not of a protoceratop, and the creature died hatching eggs like birds nowadays.

The paleontological expedition came into Mongolia after the Second World War. This time it was a Russian expedition equipped with numerous military equipments. The expedition discovered many new sites of valuable finds. One of these sites was Nemegt. From there the explorers discovered a four-legged herbivorous dinosaur of 30 meters high, unknown before. The dinosaur was named Nemegtosaurus. The expedition also discovered new finds from sites such as Altan Ulaa and Khermen Tsav. These were Tarbosaurus, Talarurus and Saurolophus.

Following Russians, the Mongolian-Polish joint team began exploration. They had a number of successful explorations in 1960s and 1970s. The team led by Sophia Killen Javorskaya discovered several types of new dinosaurs, ancient mammals and crawlers. Also the team discovered a new site of famous finds called Tugrugiin Shiree nearby Bayanzag.

Mongolian-Polish joint team began exploration. They had a number of successful explorations in 1960s and 1970s. The team led by Sophia Killen Javorskaya discovered several types of new dinosaurs, ancient mammals and crawlers. Also the team discovered a new site of famous finds called Tugrugiin Shiree nearby Bayanzag.

In 1971 the joint team discovered a find known to the world as “Fighting Dinosaurs”. An adult herbivorous Protoceratop was found in a grapple with a flesh-eating Velociratop. The Protoceratop lied on its belly, but Velociratop lied on a position of the right side, its lower limb pointed nails were stuck in the throat of the herbivore, but its right arm was bitten between the strong jaws of the herbivore. At this moment sand fell down over these two creatures, they preserved under the earth for 80 million years. The cause of fighting is still unclear. Maybe, the herbivore attempted to prevent eggs from the predator, or they faced each other all of sudden. The only thing we can do now is to have various guesses. The find was the first evidence of how eggs from the predator, or they faced each other all of sudden. The only thing we can do now is to have various guesses. The find was the first evidence of how animals used their claw nails. At present this valuable find is on display at the Natural Museum of Ulaanbaatar along with other finds discovered by Russian and Polish paleontologists.

Ukhaa Tolgoi is another dinosaur fossil site discovered in 1993. The site was also unexpectedly discovered like Bayanzag. The car of an expedition team got stuck in sand. The explorers got down and had some break, after which they observed the surroundings and found out a new dinosaur fossil site. At this site the team unearthed several thousands of dinosaur fossils, also thousands of mammal and crawler remains.

One of the famous finds discovered at Ukhaa Tolgoi was Citipati, close type of Oviraptor. The creature looked like a bird hatching eggs. This tells us, firstly, dinosaurs hatched eggs, and secondly the ancestors of present birds were dinosaurs.

Many types of dinosaurs discovered in Mongolia have got names related to Mongolia. The most interesting ones are Erkhet and Khaan dinosaurs. Flesh-eating Khaan dinosaurs ate small mammals and crawlers, even smaller dinosaurs. There is a hypothesis that this type of dinosaurs might have feathers covered the body. These finds represent a part of all valuable findings discovered from the vast Gobi of Mongolia.

Excavation of dinosaur fossils does not represent a field in Mongolia having many hundred years of history in comparison with other countries. We've done a few field excavations. Despite of these few excavations our national research teams have been able to amaze the world with new discoveries.

History of dinosaur egg discovery.

These eggs were known to the world several hundred years ago, and they were used for decorations and making valuable items. However, the world did not know those eggs were dinosaur eggs.

In 1859 Jean Jacques found a genuine dinosaur egg in South of France, but because of its size they took it to be an egg of a gigantic bird. In 1869 Mapheron found better preserved eggs, again scholars took them to be eggs of a gigantic crocodile.

However, Paul Gerweis (1816-1879) completed his first detailed research. And his hypothesis was these could be dinosaur eggs.

In 1923 the Central Asian Research Crew of the American Museum of Natural History discovered the first-ever complete nest of ancient dinosaurs. This find put an end to disputes lasted among scholars for a long time, and demonstrated to the world that dinosaurs laid eggs, not produced young creatures. Although paleontology witnessed six-seven eggs with embryo, they were not preserved well like the ones from Bayanzag. The discovery amazed the world. Moreover, the world heard of Mongolia again, the name of which once kept shaking the world, but has been almost forgotten by the beginnings of XX century.
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