China Stuff

China Photos

.    Setting Out
.    Sainshand
.    The Desert
.   .    Animals
.   .    Hamryn Hiid
.   .    Petrified Trees
.   .    Caves
.   .    Dinosaurs
.   .    Dunes
.   .    Saxaul
.   .    Home again
.    Leaving


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Dinosaur fossils

Arriving, we got out of the jeeps, rounded a small hill, and there, sitting half exposed, was a 4-meter-long dinosaur skeleton, half embedded in the ground. One or two of the vertebrae had been replaced with white stones of a similar size and shape, but mostly it was complete.

You might notice a lack of pictures of this find. Of course my first reaction was to whip out the camera and take one, but the monk refused to allow us to take pictures. They are worried that if the existence and location of this skeleton get out people will come and steal it as they have so many others. Unfortunately they are behind the times technologically - one adult on the trip marked the site with his GPS. He is not planning on stealing the skeleton, though.

The stones and the desert have some religious significance themselves - it is not clear to me exactly what, but it seems to relate to a worship of nature.

Since it rarely rains and there is no running water in the Gobi, fossils like this become exposed through the agency of gravity and wind. As the edges of cliffs crumble away fossils will simply appear on the surface.

Our translator Tumai poked at what she thought was an interesting rock here, which turned out to be an old ceremonial buckle, used by monks during ceremonies. It had probably lain there for 70 years, from the time it would have been hidden along with other relicts, or dropped off the body of an executed monk.

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