We landed in Ulaan Baatar around 11 AM and were met by Dr. Yoshi Kobayashi (former SMU graduate student) from the Hokkaido University Museum, Japan, and Dr. Ligden Barsbold from Paleontological Center, Mongolia. We were informed that we would leave for the Gobi Desert the next morning, giving us a chance to spend the day in the capitol city.
I visited the Mongolia Natural History Museum, which houses some of the most spectacular fossils from Central Asia. The highlight of the visit was seeing the mounted skeleton of Tarbosaurus, cousin of T rex, Deinocheirus, many dinosaur eggs, and the world-famous fighting dinosaurs.
The fighting dinosaurs are a Velociraptor (made famous by the movie Jurassic Park) and Protoceratops (a relative of Triceratops) that are preserved together as if in a battle to the death. The Velociraptor’s claws of one foot are thrust in the abdomen of the Potoceratops, and Protoceratops holds the right forearm of the Velociraptor in its mouth.
We depart tomorrow by car to Bugin Tsav. Along the way, we will pick up a truck. We expect the trip to take two to possibly four days. Once there we will meet up with the rest of the expedition team, including expedition team leader Dr. Yuong-Nam Lee, former SMU graduate student, from the Korean Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resourses, Korea, and SMU doctoral student John Graf, who left one and a half weeks earlier and is already working in Bugin Tsav.
(In photo: Tarbosaurus skeleton in the main dinosaur hall of the Mongolia Natural History Museum.)