The Gobi Desert straddles Mongolia’s southern border with China’s autonomous region of Inner Mongolia. It is a cold desert formed in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. The world’s highest mountain chain blocks clouds from the Indian Ocean from making it over the Tibetan Plateau and into the Gobi area.

During the late Cretaceous, some 70-80 million years ago, the Gobi region was a lot different. Parts of it were covered by dense conifer forests, criss-crossed by streams and dotted with lakes. Today, though, thanks to the desert’s barren, rock-strewn landscapes, paleontologists have found so many incredible fossils. The rocks from the lush dinosaur age are already exposed at the surface and ready to be explored.

The first-ever positively identified dinosaur eggs became one of the first sensational finds from a rocky outcrop called the Flaming Cliffs. Andrews thought the eggs belonged to a dinosaur called Protoceratops, a small hornless relative of Triceratops. Intriguingly, in other finds, a feathered carnivorous dinosaur called Oviraptor had also been found fossilized on top of Protoceratops eggs. In the 1990s scientists discovered that the eggs actually belonged to Oviraptor and these fossils were the first known evidence of dinosaur brooding behavior, a further evolutionary link with birds. Sadly, because of scientific naming rules, Oviraptor will always bear the Latin name “egg plunderer”.


Picture credit: Google

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