In the Mongolian Gobi Desert, nine hours from Ulaanbaatar and ten from the Chinese border, at the edge of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, are the red sandstone cliffs known to locals as Bayanzag, the place where the Saksaul trees grow. Since 1922, however, they have also been known for something very different: dinosaurs. After an expedition led by the explorer and zoologist Roy Chapman Andrews that year, scientists from the American Museum of Natural history in New York began excavating the fossilized remains of Cretaceous animals like Protoceratops and Velociraptor. They were followed by a century of paleontologists and fossil enthusiasts from all over the world. Unfortunately, many fossils have also been illegally poached and lost to the Mongolian people and to the scientific community.

Today, the Flaming Cliffs are protected by the Mongolian government and many of the fossils taken by poachers are being found and repatriated for the education and heritage of the Mongolian people. The Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs is leading efforts to protect and educate the public on this unique scientific and cultural resource, so that future generations can continue to make discoveries and enjoy the natural beauty of the Flaming Cliffs.

A project of the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs

The ISMD is an organization based in Mongolia and the United States, dedicated to educating the public about the natural history of Mongolia and the Gobi, as well as preserving and protecting the fossils of Mongolia for the purposes of scientific research, education and science outreach. Individuals involved with the project include ISMD founder Bolortsetseg Minjin, web designer and writer Thea Boodhoo, and paleoillustrator Emily Willoughby, as of 2016.