Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tracking China’s Dinosaurs

Experience China and its dinosaurs!

Tracking China’s Dinosaurs

May 12 (Wednesday) ---- 22 (Saturday), 2010 (11 days)

Type of Trip: Geotour (Paleontology)
Location: northwestern China (cities of Beijing, Xian, and Lanzhou)
Science Leaders: Andrew R. C. Milner and Hailu You
Minimum Number: 10
Maximum number: 20

Trip Overview:
Sinofossa Institute and St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site are proud to offer a unique opportunity to experience the cultural, historical, and geological wonders of China while following professional paleontologists Andrew R. C. Milner (City Paleontologist, St. George, Utah) and Dr. Hai-Lu You (Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences) to explore dinosaur footprint-bearing sites at China’s first track-based national geopark in Gansu Province. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit two well-known museums holding dinosaurs in Beijing: the Beijing Natural History Museum and Chinese Paleozoological Museum; and see scenic cultural and historical attractions in Xian, where the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses are located.

Who Should Attend?
Persons interested in dinosaurs and fossil birds, especially their tracks, and who desire a unique, natural history-oriented experience in China.

Tour Fee, Deposit & Payment:
US$ 2,495.00/person (double occupancy)
US$ 2,995.00/person (single occupancy)
Deposit: US$ 200.00
Deposit Deadline: February 11, 2010
Full Payment Deadline: March 11, 2010

For terms and conditions, please visit

Included in Tour Package:
- All transportation within China, including transfers between airports and hotels.
- Deluxe accommodations in Beijing and Xian, 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 gloves, brushes, and chisels for individual use, and equipment (e.g., pickaxes, shovels, spades, generators) and supplies (plaster, glues, 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.
- International airfare.
- Travel insurance.
- Gratuities.
- Laundry.
- Optional two-day pre-trip sightseeing excursion in Beijing (see below).

Your Science Trip Leaders:

Andrew R. C. Milner
St. George City Paleontologist and SGDS Museum Curator

Andrew works with all scientific aspects of the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm dealing with paleontology and geology. Other research interests in southern Utah include the paleontology of the Triassic Moenkopi and Chinle formations, the Early Jurassic Moenave, Kayenta, and Navajo formations, and the Upper Cretaceous Iron Springs Formation. Andrew also works on Late Pleistocene Champlain Sea fossils from eastern North America. He lectures, provides higher educational services such as field trips, and has been a member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology since 1988. He helped establish the nation's first BLM Paleontological Site Stewardship Program in Washington County, Utah, and he continues to work with the BLM and other federal and state organizations in recording and monitoring paleontological localities in the region. In 2008, Andrew successfully co-led his first “Tracking China’s Dinosaurs” geotour.

Dr. Hailu You
Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Hai-Lu’s extensive knowledge on vertebrate paleontology, especially dinosaurs was gained through six years of Ph.D. study at University of Pennsylvania, as well as more than fifteen years of field and laboratory works on vertebrate fossils. As a lead scientist, Hai-Lu’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. Hai-Lu has named nine 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: Beijing Natural History Museum and Chinese Paleozoological Museum.
Today, we’ll visit the Beijing Natural History Museum in the morning, and the unparalleled fossil collections of the Chinese Paleozoological Museum of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in the afternoon. IVPP is one of the largest paleontological institutions in the world, and a global leader in the study of vertebrate fossils.

Feather dinosaurs and other amazing fossils in Bejing museums

Day 3, Beijing > Xian: Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses.
Today, we’ll fly to Xian in the morning, and visit the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses in the afternoon.

Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses

Day 4, Xian > Lanzhou: Fossil Research and Development Center.
Today, we’ll fly to Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province, in the morning, and in the afternoon, visit the unique dinosaur collection of the Fossil Research and Development Center of the Gansu Provincial Bureau of Geo-Exploration and Mineral Development.

In the lab at the Fossil Research and Development Center of the Gansu Provincial Bureau of Geo-Exploration and Mineral Development

Days 5-9, Liujiaxia Dinosaur National Geopark.
In these days, we’ll work at the Liujiaxia Dinosaur National Geopark, and explore the dinosaur-bearing rocks nearby*. You can spend all these days with Andrew at the footprint site, or if you like to dig, you can spend 2 of these days following Hai-Lu to dig dinosaur bones at the nearby sites. 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 (about 130 million years ago) rocks exposed along the Yellow River (click here to see a paper on this). Several bizarre new dinosaurs have also been recently found in the same geological horizons, including the huge ornithopod Lanzhousaurus magnidens and the gigantic sauropod Huanghetitan liujiaxiaensis.

Early Cretaceous sauropod tracks at the Liujiaxia Dinosaur National Geopark study site.

We’ll focus most of our attention on one footprint quarry, and help Andrew and Hai-Lu study these. Work at the site will include a detailed cleaning of the track surfaces, followed by the accurate mapping, photographing, and measuring of tracks, trackways, associated trace fossils, and sedimentary structures. Several unusual trackway features are preserved at this locality, and we have the opportunity to discover what kind of environment they were formed in and what behavioral implications of the animals they may represent. Our goal is to get as much information as possible in the field and publish our result in a peer reviewed journal.

Day 10, Lanzhou > Beijing.
Today, we’ll fly back to Beijing. If time allows, we’ll go shopping. We’ll enjoy Peking Duck for dinner.

Day 11, 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 Monday, May 10, 2010.

US$ 400.00/person (double occupancy)
US$ 500.00/person (single occupancy)

Day 1, Beijing: The Great Wall and Ming Tombs.
We’ll drive north, to visit the Great Wall and Ming Tombs for the entire day.

Day 2, 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. In the evening, we’ll join our other participants for dinner.

Questions? Please contact:

Andrew R. C. Milner
St. George City Paleontologist
Tel: 1-435-574-3466 ext. #2

Hai-Lu You
Institute of Geology
Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Cell (China): 86-13691587251


Maureen said...

I love China! I just wish I had the money and time...

Tony Edger said...

Ah, China, dinosaurs, and the magic word "dig" . . . if only money were no object. Still, thanks for feeding a dream.