Sinofossa Institute is proud to offer a unique opportunity to experience the cultural, historical, and geological wonders of China while following professional paleontologists Kenneth Carpenter (Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah) and Hailu You (Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences) to discover and excavate dinosaurs at some of the most spectacular fossil sites in China.
Following in the footsteps of Marco Polo, your tour director (Hailu) and his colleagues have recently made several extraordinary and scientifically significant dinosaur discoveries along the ancient Silk Road in Gansu Province of China. Among them are: numerous dinosaur tracks in the Liujiaxia National Dinosaur Geopark (China¡¯s first track-based national geopark), Gansus yumenensis from the Changma Basin, the oldest-known close relative of modern birds (which was published in the prestigious journal Science and featured in the Science Channel¡¯s 2006 documentary Rise of the Feathered Dragons and the History Channel¡¯s 2008 series Evolve), Lanzhousaurus magnidens from the Lanzhou Basin, the largest-toothed herbivorous dinosaur in the world, and Auroraceratops rugosus from the White Pagoda Basin, a primitive relative of famous horned dinosaur Triceratops. Participants of this special geotour will tour and conduct paleontological fieldwork at these three sites, in addition to visiting well-known cultural and historical attractions along the Silk Road, including the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses in Xian, western end of the Great Wall at Jiayuguan City and the Mogao Grottoes (¡°Caves of the Thousand Buddhas¡±), a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the oasis city of Dunhuang. While in Beijing, our group will also tour the Chinese Paleozoological Museum, the Zhoukoudian Peking Man site, and the Beijing Natural History Museum. Moreover, in Lanzhou, we will visit the brand new Gansu Geological Museum to see several of the amazing dinosaurs that have just discovered and formally named in recent years.
Who Should Attend?
Persons interested in dinosaurs and fossil birds, and who desire a unique, natural history-oriented experience in China.
Tour Fee, Deposit & Payment:
US$ 3,150.00/person (double occupancy)
US$ 3,450.00/person (single occupancy)
Deposit: US$ 200.00
Included in Tour Package:
All transportation within China, including transfers between airports and hotels.
Deluxe accommodations in Beijing, and clean, comfortable accommodations in Gansu.
All meals and beverages.
All tickets for sightseeing attractions throughout the trip.
Permits required to explore for and excavate dinosaur fossils.
All tools for fossil excavation, including rock hammers, chisels, brushes, and gloves for individual use, and equipment (e.g., pickaxes, shovels, spades, generators) and supplies (glues, plaster, burlap, etc.) for group use if necessary.
English-speaking, professional leadership.
Full pre-trip information and assistance.
Not Included in Tour Price:
Passport and visa fees.
Optional two-day pre-trip sightseeing excursion in Beijing (see below).
Your Science Trip Leaders:
Dr. Kenneth Carpenter
Director and Curator of Paleontology
Prehistoric Museum, Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah
Dr. Kenneth Carpenter got his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado, and has worked in various museums for almost 30 years. He recently became the Director of the Prehistoric Museum in Price Utah, where he will continue his research into Lower Cretaceous dinosaurs. Ken has published over 200 books and papers, mostly on dinosaurs. He has appeared on numerous television programs about dinosaurs, as well as serve as scientific consultant for the BBC and National geographic Society. Ken has named or helped name over 17 dinosaur and other prehistoric animals.
Dr. Hailu You
Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Hailu¡¯s extensive knowledge on vertebrate paleontology, especially dinosaurs was gained through six years of Ph.D. study at University of Pennsylvania, as well as twenty years of field and laboratory works on vertebrate fossils. As a lead scientist, Hailu¡¯s recent research is focusing on two projects: in search of the new evolutionary ¡°missing links¡± from the Early Cretaceous of China, and the evolution of basal horned dinosaurs, in collaborating with his colleagues from Carnegie Museum of Natural History, University of Pennsylvania, Canadian Museum of Nature, and various Chinese institutions. Hailu has named 15 new dinosaur genera since 2003.
Day 1, Beijing: arrival and welcome.
Feel free to arrive at any time of the day. We¡¯ll meet you at the Beijing Capital International Airport, and transfer you to your hotel. We¡¯ll celebrate your arrival with a welcome reception in the evening.
Day 2, Beijing: Chinese Paleozoological Museum and Beijing Zoo. Night train to Xian.
Today, we¡¯ll visit the unparalleled fossil collections of the Chinese Paleozoological Museum of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in the morning. IVPP is one of the largest paleontological institutions in the world, and a global leader in the study of vertebrate fossils. In the afternoon, we¡¯ll see pandas and other animals in the Beijing zoo. We’ll take night sleepers to Xian.
Day 3, Xian: Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses.
Day 4, Xian> Lanzhou: Gansu Geological Museum.
Today, we¡¯ll fly to Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province, and visit the brand new Gansu Geological Museum in the afternoon.
Day 5, Liujiaxia Dinosaur National Geopark and Provincial Museum. Night train to Jiayuguan.
Today, we¡¯ll visit the Liujiaxia Dinosaur National Geopark. Here, a diverse and well-preserved assemblage of dinosaur (meat-eating theropod, long-necked sauropod, and plant-eating ornithopod), pterosaur, and bird tracks have been recovered from Lower Cretaceous-aged rocks exposed along the Yellow River. Several bizarre new dinosaurs have also been recently found in the same geological horizons, including the huge ornithopod Lanzhousaurus magnidens and the gigantic sauropods: Huanghetitan and Daxiatitan. We¡¯ll visit the Gansu Provincial Museum in the afternoon, and take night sleepers to Jiayuguan City.
Day 6, Jiayuguan: White Pagoda.
We¡¯ll arrive in Jiayuguan City in the morning. After transferring to hotel, we¡¯ll drive north, into the Gobi Desert, to explore the dinosaurs in the White Pagoda Basin, where numerous new dinosaur species have recently been discovered, including the earliest-known large therizinosaur, Suzhousaurus megatherioides, a long-snout tyrannosauroid, Xiongguanlong baimoensis, a giant ornithomimosaur, Beishanlong grandis, the first well-preserved brachiosaurid in Asia, Qiaowanlong kangxii, bonebeds of basal horned and duck-billed dinosaurs, and other numerous representatives of various vertebrate groups*.
Day 7, Jiayuguan > Yumen: Jiayuguan Pass in the morning.
We¡¯ll visit the western end of the Great Wall in the morning, and drive to Yumen City, which will serve as our base for the next three days of fossil digging in the Changma Basin.
Days 8-10, Changma: digging dinosaurs (birds).
Nestled in a mountain valley at the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, the Changma Basin has recently been the site of many remarkable Early Cretaceous fossil discoveries. Here, since 2004, Dr. You and his collaborators have uncovered nearly one hundred partial to nearly complete skeletons of 110-million-year-old birds, most of which pertain to a single species: Gansus yumenensis, the oldest-known close relative of living birds. We will spend three days splitting mudstones in the Changma Basin, in many of the same quarries that have yielded fossil birds, in search of additional specimens of Gansus, other archaic bird species, and the plants, freshwater invertebrates, insects, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles that lived with them*. We’ll drive to the oasis city of Dunhuang in the afternoon of the third digging day.
Day 11, Dunhuang> Beijing.
Today, we¡¯ll visit the Mogao Grottoes (also known as the ¡°Caves of the Thousand Buddhas¡±), a UNESCO world heritage site in the morning. We’ll fly back to Beijing in the afternoon.
Day 12, Beijing: Peking Man site and Beijing Natural History Museum.
We¡¯ll go to the Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site, a World Culture Heritage ~30 km southwest downtown of Beijing in the morning, and visit the Beijing Natural History Museum in the afternoon. We will also go shopping if time allows.
Day 13, Beijing: fond farewells.
We¡¯ll take you to the airport, guide you to your terminal, and share a final lunch together if you depart in the afternoon.
*According to Chinese laws, all fossils belong to the nation. Any and all specimens we collect will be permanently reposited in Chinese institutions.
Optional Pre-trip Two-day Sightseeing Excursion in Beijing:
To participate in this optional sightseeing excursion (which is not included in the tour prices listed above), please arrive in Beijing on Saturday, August 18, 2012.
US$ 400.00/person (double occupancy)
US$ 500.00/person (single occupancy)
Day 1, Beijing: The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Temple of Heaven.
We¡¯ll visit the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in the morning and the Temple of Heaven in the afternoon.
Day 2, Beijing: The Great Wall and Ming Tombs.
We¡¯ll drive north, to visit the Great Wall and Ming Tombs for the entire day. In the evening, we¡¯ll join our other participants for dinner.
Questions? Please contact: