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Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs and the Dinosaur Eggs of Chapman, the original Indiana Jones

By in Articles, Mongolia, Uncategorized, Videos & Documentaries Comments Off on Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs and the Dinosaur Eggs of Chapman, the original Indiana Jones

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.

Flaming Cliffs – Gobi Desert – Mongolia

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.

Experience Chapman’s expedition in this short Museum of Natural History video

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.

The story of the expedition. The video uses original footage.

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.

Dr. Bolortsetseg Minjin of the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs shares details of the past, present, and future 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:

Learn what is happening today in the field of Paleontology in the Goby desert

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:

Saving Madagascar Baobabs one at a time

By in Articles, Madagascar, Uncategorized Comments Off on Saving Madagascar Baobabs one at a time

“I must see the giant Bao Babs!” This is a line we hear on almost every call we receive from explorers evaluating visiting Madagascar, the Island of the endemics.

Giant Baobabs during sunset excursion at Baobab Avenue – Morondava – Madagascar

The genus Adansonia -Babobabs- are found only in Madagascar (seven species), continental Africa (two species), the Arabian Peninsula (two species), and Australia (one species)

Of the seven species in Madagascar, six are endemic to the Island, and this includes the tallest and oldest of them all, the Giant Baobab, also known as Grandidier’s baobab (Adansonia grandidieri). I am sure you have seen them more than once in magazines and documentaries photographed or filmed at the famous Avenue of the Baobabs.

This iconic and beautiful destination is just an hour and a few minutes’ drive away from the charming coastal town of Morondava in western Madagascar.

Giant Baobab on the road to Kirindy National Park from Morondava – Madagascar

Baobabs are unique in many ways. Not only their shape, size, and age set them apart (They can live well over 1000 years!), but also their capacity to resist bush fires. It is common to see burned fields with the giants standing in the middle, unharmed in any discernible way.

Despite their impressive resistance and the fact that locals have very little use of their barks and none for their trunks, Giant Baobabs are an endangered species due to habitat loss and the lack of seed dispersers.

The road to Baobab Avenue

Yes, even though Baobabs in other parts of the world have animal species dispersing their seeds, in Madagascar, there is no known natural disperser.

But of course, they must have had them. It is currently believed that there were some large lemurs and giant tortoises that could have been eating the fruits of baobabs and later discarded the seeds over new areas. Those baobab natural seeds dispersers disappeared after the arrival of humans to the Island about 1000 years ago.

All NPE Madagascar safari expeditions include two visits to Baobab Avenue, one at sunset.

Today, multiple projects in Madagascar work on the reproduction and planting of Baobabs of all seven species.

These efforts started timidly a few decades ago, just around the same time that New Paths Expeditions initiated its safari operations in Madagascar. Gladly, about five years ago, such projects have multiplied considerably, a bet on a very distant future considering the growth rates of the species.

Baobab nursery at Baobab Avenue – Morondava – Madagascar

During New Paths expeditions in Madagascar, we include two visits to the Avenue of the Baobabs, one during the daytime, and another one at sunset time. All our explorers are invited, at no extra cost, to plant a giant Baobab in the area.

By the way, New Paths Expeditions offers a free return trip to Madagascar to all explorers that plant a Baobab, so they can see the tree they planted when its riches its prime, some 1000 years in the future 🙂

Plant a Baobab during an NPE Madagascar expedition – Return trip included 🙂

If you are interested in seeing the Giant Baobabs in their natural habitat, help in their reproduction, and observe in the wild 14 species of lemurs including the Indri-Indri -the largest of all lemurs, the Madame Berthe’s lemur -the smallest primate in the world, foosas, and many other endemics of the Island check our pioneering and award-winning expedition.

Click on the image above to check the Madagascar safari expedition tour details

We are glad to announce our recently improved itinerary has reduced even more the drives over bad roads thanks to a new charter flight from Berenty Reserve, the paradise for Ring-tailed and Dancing lemurs, to Morondava, the coastal town close to the Avenue of the Baobabs and door to Kirindy forest, the most threatened habitat on Earth.

All NPE Madagascar safari expeditions include two visits to Baobab Avenue, one at sunset.

Check the itinerary, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our 15 years of experience in Madagascar is always at your service.