Mongolia turns to its dinosaurs in an attempt to attract more tourists

Mongolia will host its first ever Dinosaur Festival on July 29 and 30. The event will take place at the Bayanzag archeological site located in the southern Omnogovi province in the Gobi Desert.

The Mongolian Institute of Paleontology, which is organizing the festival, promises a program that consists of an exhibition of artifacts, a laser show, a holographic presentation, and a special tour with dinosaur fossil hunters.

As Mongolia announced 2023 and 2024 as tourism years, it is turning to its dinosaurs in search of attractions for foreign tourists.

The date and location of the event have been carefully picked as they carry an enormous importance for the world paleontological community. Exactly 100 years ago the director of the American Museum of Natural History, Roy Chapman Andrews, discovered dinosaur eggs for the first time at the Bayanzag site, which he called the Flaming Cliffs. The discovery was groundbreaking at the time as it proved that dinosaurs laid eggs, just as birds do today, and birthed a theory that birds are descendants of dinosaurs.

A lot more was to come in the next few years, turning Mongolia into one of the most important countries for the study of dinosaurs and ancient history. Out of 400 species of dinosaurs discovered so far, 80 came from southern Mongolia, where they lived in the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era. For example, the velociraptor, which appeared in the Jurassic Park movies, oviraptor, and protoceratops were first found in the Mongolian part of the Gobi desert. One of the most famous dinosaur fossils, the Fighting Dinosaurs, which shows a fight between a velociraptor and protoceratops, was found in 1971 by Polish and Mongolian paleontologists.

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