Fossick for Dinosaur Bones at Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs – One of the World’s Greatest Dinosaur Fossil Sites. Dear Pip, Deep in the heart of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert…
Fossick for Dinosaur Bones at Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs – One of the World’s Greatest Dinosaur Fossil Sites.
Deep in the heart of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are the Flaming Cliffs. They are utterly remote at approximately 100 kms northwest of Dalanzadgad and nine hours from Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park.
I don’t know how our driver found his way through the desert because there were no signs or landmarks I could discern to guide the way. When I asked (as translated by our guide) how he knows the way, he shrugged his shoulders, saying (as translated) he just knows. Beats me! However, find the way he did.
The Flaming Cliffs, so named because of their ochre and red-coloured sandstone cliffs and canyons, are an ancient formation of 71 to 75 million years old. They are famous for the first discovery of dinosaur eggs by the American palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews in 1923. According to our guide, the eggs were discovered when one of Andrews’ crew fell down the cliff into a nest full of dinosaur eggs.
The Flaming Cliffs are known as one of the world’s greatest dinosaur fossil sites, with more and more bones exposed through erosion. The first dinosaur fossil, a Protoceratops, was discovered in 1922, and in the 1970s, a fossil was unearthed of two dinosaurs locked in a fight. Being a well-known site for dinosaur fossil hunters excited Meg, who scrambled over the cliffs (in thongs!), fossicking for dinosaur bones.
Nearing the end of our cliff walk and exploration, we came across an object sticking out of the cliff face that could be a large bone – possibly a dinosaur thigh bone. Our guide suggested licking the ‘bone’ to test if it is bone or stone. Because bones are more porous than stones, your tongue sticks to it when you lick bone, but it won’t stick to stone. Of course, Meg had to have a lick. Her tongue stuck to it – bone!
A bit of trivia for you:
Roy Chapman Andrews was a bit of a daredevil, a swashbuckler, and he was the inspiration behind the Indiana Jones film character.
Editor’s Note: I originally published this blog post in February 2019 and have updated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. All photos are my own and remain the copyright of Just Me Travel.
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