(April 2006) Monroe Township, NJ – Were they wiped out by an asteroid, vanquished by volcanoes, or are they still with us in feathered form? Whatever their fate, you can’t get any closer to what is left of the biggest creatures to ever roam the planet – and the paleontologists who painstakingly study them – than on Dinosaurs of the Gobi, a hands-on active adventure expedition from Nomadic Expeditions, the premier tour operator to Mongolia.

The Dinosaurs of the Gobi adventure takes you deep into the stunning Gobi Desert to excavate ancient fossil finds. Rugged, remote and rich with relics, the Gobi is considered the “Mecca” of the Late Cretaceous Period, when Bractosaurus, Protoceratops and Velociraptors made the shifting sands their stomping ground. Amateur paleontologists get to dig for fossils under the auspices of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences with guidance from noted paleontologist Dr. Philip Currie of the University of Alberta and Dr. Demchig Badamgarav, one of Mongolia’s leading paleontologists. Past expeditions have made significant finds, including the most recent in August 2003, which Dr. Currie proclaimed “the year of the feet” for all the prehistoric imprints that were discovered, several with skin impressions, including a beautiful Tarbosaurus foot, and several hands and feet of Pinacosaurus. Other finds such as Velociraptor and Ankylosaur teeth, the second toe of a Gallimimus, dozens of lizard skulls and other dinosaur fossil parts made for quite a haul.

A well-rounded and active adventure, Dinosaurs of the Gobi includes some of the most fascinating destinations in the desert – itself a beautiful work of nature. In the company of Drs. Currie and Badamgarav, you’ll dig at the white escarpment of Tugrigiin Shiree, where one of Mongolia’s national treasures, the spectacular “Fighting Dinosaurs” fossil of a Protoceratops and Velociraptor locked in mortal combat, was unearthed in 1971. You’ll also visit the legendary Flaming Cliffs of Byan Dzak, where the first nest of dinosaur eggs was discovered in 1922, opening the world’s eyes to prehistoric reproduction. And upon return to Ulaanbaatar, you’ll explore excellent museums and magnificent cultural sites in the capital city, as well as hike and horseback ride through nearby Gorkhi-Terelj National Park.

Perfect for rugged adventure types and dinosaur enthusiasts, the 16-day Dinosaurs of the Gobi includes eight nights in expedition-style tents and three nights at the Three Camel Lodge, Nomadic Expeditions’ luxury ger camp near the Gobi-Altai Mountains. As with all Nomadic Expeditions adventures, expect a cultural immersion with native Mongolian guides and no more than 15 guests.

Dinosaurs of the Gobi runs August 13-August 28, 2006. Cost from $3,645 per person. To make reservations or for more information, contact Nomadic Expeditions at 800-998-6634, or visit on-line at www.nomadicexpeditions.com.

Lonely Planet Mongolia (Lonely Planet Mongolia)