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Xilin Gol, China

Erlian Kissing Dinosaurs

The largest dinosaurs in the world, kissing above the highway  

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A trip into Mongolia is like entering another world, or another time. On China's border with the desolate country, is a site that seems almost comforting in the wasteland. At least as comforting as two dinosaurs engaged in a French kiss can ever really be to a weary traveler on the Trans-Mongolian Express.

Guarding the small town of Erlian, also known as Erenhot, are two massive apatosauruses, with necks craned and tongues lashing against each other. According to most estimates, they are the largest dinosaurs in the world, and their romantic activities add to their strangeness. Although they are the most prominent creatures in the Chinese Jurassic Park, the highways, parks and sidewalks are dotted with statues of prehistoric lizards.

The wild Inner-Mongolian statuary stem from a series of fossil discoveries through much of the last 50 years discovered near the area. Just a few kilometers out of town, one salt lake in particular housed hundreds of bones itself. Since that time, the Chinese have worked to cultivate tourism around the town, and have placed the hopes of every resident of the barren town on the allure of a Mongolian dinosaur fantasy-land. Despite the extensive efforts of the Chinese government to grow Erenhot as a tourist destination, the town remains uncrowded and for the most part, desolate, due to its remote location.

Know Before You Go

Jump in a taxi from Erlian

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