The first fossilized dinosaur egg was discovered in 1859 by Frenchman Jean-Jacques Poech, but he mistakenly thought his finding was an egg of a giant bird.
In 1922 the most famous American explorer of all times started the very first motorized paleontology expedition with the help of the American Museum of Natural History. The explorer was Roy Chapman Andrews, and the expedition, also the largest of its time, was part of a series named Central Asiatic Expeditions.
Chapman departed from China and later entered Mongolia, finding many hardships and no bones.
On a mid-July late afternoon, the expedition was lost in the Gobi desert. In the distance, he and his team saw a cliff that glowed with such an intense reddish light that it seemed it was on fire.
The locals told Chapman the place was called Bayansag. With nothing to lose, he directed his expedition to the site. Fate stepped in: His cameraman fell and rolled down the cliff finding multiple bone fossils right over the ground!
Chapman was amazed not only by the findings but the beauty of the site and penned it as Flaming Cliffs.
Sadly, the expedition had to leave the area but returned in 1923 to find not only many new species of dinosaurs but also the first recorded findings of dinosaur eggs.
Today, Baynsag is known worldwide as Flaming Cliffs. Even though there is no digging being conducted in the area anymore, the few explorers that visit the site can walk on Chapman steps and see many remains of broken fossilized eggshells and bones.
Flaming Cliffs are located just an hour+ away from our high-end lodge in the Gobi desert, and of course, we plan all our excursions for the afternoon to experience the same impressive glow that attracted Chapman to the site.
The best way to experience Flaming Cliffs and learn more about Chapman and Mongolian Paleontology is to join one of our Mongolia Expeditions. You can check the details of the expedition by clicking here.
In the meantime, check the videos included in the article. Those are some of the videos that we share with our Mongolia guests.
You may also find interesting this book about Chapman’s Central Asiatic expeditions:
Sadly, fossil poaching is a big issue in Mongolia. Even though the problem persists, ecotourism has had an important positive impact on reducing it.
In the following video Dr. Bolortsetseg Minjin, from the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs, shares details about the history and current situation of Mongolian Paleontology.
If you want to check what researchers are doing in the Goby today, check the following video by the American Museum of Natural History:
New paths Expeditions Mongolia explorers visit the Flaming Cliffs walking on Chapman’s footsteps.
Mongolia is a very diverse destination and NPE has been exploring its most remote corners for over two decades. To learn all that Mongolia, the land of the eternal blue skies and Genghis Kahn offers visit: