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Russian Tourist Destinations: Dinosaur Cemetery in the Amur Region
March 14, 2007 14:23

One of the most interesting sightseeing spots in the Amur Region is the so-called dinosaur cemetery near the village Kundur. It was discovered in 1990 during building of a new road. On the whole there have been found several thousands of dinosaur bones, which attract many followers of cultural tourism to the region. In 1999 there, amongst the bones, one of the expeditions found a strain of dinosaurs which hadn’t been known before. At first a son of the head of the expedition noticed a tip of a tail, sticking from the ground. When the digging works started, it turned out that there were thousands of skeletons 20cm below the ground surface – the vast field was full of bones.

The very first discovery became a world’s sensation – two 15-metre skeletons of a male and female dinosaurs, perfectly preserved, and besides, both belonging to an unknown strain. The dinosaurs were given names Vanya and Masha, and their skeletons looked like one of the dinosaur types widely spread on the planet in the past.

However, a number of considerable anatomical differences made scientists come to the conclusion that it certainly was a new strain of dinosaurs. The scientists encountered a question: how come there were so many remains on such a small area? They suggested that in the past here was a place of frequent and sudden torrential flows, which “buried” multiple herds of dinosaurs thousands years ago.

The area of their dwelling was rather vast – from Siberia to the seaboard. Vanya and Masha died 55-56 million years ago, but scientists suppose that there are even more ancient remains in the deeper earth layers. It is not a secret that fully preserved dinosaur skeletons are rare discoveries in the world and may cost up to $10 million, e.g. If the local tractor drivers had known that there were billions of roubles under their graders, they would perhaps have gone mad.

Interestingly, the cemetery was situated on the route where the new road was being built. After scientists had learnt this, they claimed that the road builders must make allowances to the project which was approved by all high-ranking authorities of the country, including President. When the builders refused to change anything, the scientists applied to various international organizations. Although some inconsiderable changes were brought to the project of the road building, the urgent question is still open and it is not exactly known whether cars will drive over the dinosaur bones.

A scandal was about to break out after the senator of the Amur Region Galina Buslova proposed to sell one of the found dinosaur skeletons in order to improve the financial situation in the region. However, the Ministry of Culture explained that the senator and governor couldn’t make such decision: “we do not sell our bones” – that was the reply of the Ministry. As it became known, the senator of the Amur Region decided to sell the dinosaur remains after finding on the Internet some information about a 12-metre dinosaur skeleton sold for $5.8 million in the United States.


Translation: Natalya Lavrentyeva

Tags: Russian tourism Amur Region Kundur dinosaur cemetery Russian archaeology  

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