The Flaming Cliffs in the heart of the Gobi Desert are home to the fossils of ancient creatures from the dog-sized herbivore Protoceratops to the ferocious predator Velociraptor. As an official park protected by Umnugovi Province, the Flaming Cliffs are preserved for the benefit of humanity’s global scientific heritage as well as the posterity of the Mongolian people.

A project of the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs. Learn more >



Protoceratops was the first dinosaur discovered by western scientists Mongolia, at the Flaming Cliffs in 1922. With a beak like a bird but a body with four legs, it may have been found by ancient travellers and interpreted as the legendary griffin. Although its beak may look sharp like an eagle’s, it ate plants and was closer in size to a sheep than a lion.


Velociraptor, the sharp-clawed predator who starred in the Jurassic Park films, was first discovered at the Flaming Cliffs in the Mongolian Gobi Desert. Scientists now know that it was feathered, and they believe it hunted Protoceratops–not people. It was two meters from head to tail and stood roughly knee high to an adult human.


Oviraptor’s name means “egg stealer” because the first one ever found–at Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs–was fossilized with a nest of eggs. We now know that the eggs were actually its own, and it was just being a good parent. Oviraptors came to the area to build their nests and hatch their young.


Weighing two tons and covered with spiky armor, Pinacosaurus was a formidable herbivore. The first one known to modern science was found at Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs in 1923. This dinosaur may have used its bony tail club as a defensive weapon against predators.


From the ancient Dune Dwellers who used fossils for jewelry, to the famous expeditions of Roy Chapman Andrews in the 1930s, to the formation of a Provincial Park in the 1990s, the Flaming Cliffs have a rich history of discovery, mystery and global cultural and scientific importance.

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Efforts to preserve and protect the Flaming Cliffs area and its fossils are ongoing, and you can help! Whether you’re planning a visit, live nearby, or just want to contribute from afar there are simple ways you can help make sure the Flaming Cliffs remain an inspiring and scientifically valuable location for all.

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Painting by Emily Willoughby all rights reserved.

Coming soon: a return to the Gobi, new dino illustrations, and historical archives

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Short Summary: Mongolia is known across the world for the amazing dinosaur skeletons found from its Gobi Desert. Skeletons of...


A project of the

Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs



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