- An expedition in the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia turns up evidence of a 90-million-year-old graveyard, including the remains of more than a dozen fossilized ostrichlike dinosaurs.
- Evidence at the site points to a unique and rare conclusion: the dinosaur fossils were not deposited at the site over millennia. Instead the dinosaurs all met their fate at the same time.
- By studying this mass grave, researchers have learned about the structure of dinosaur society, the ways in which these creatures interacted, and the division of labor among adults and juveniles.
"Another skeleton with a perfect skull!” I shouted to the team, all of whom were face down on the quarry floor exposing other skeletons. In the years I had spent as a paleontologist, never had I seen anything like this. Our team of fossil hunters had been prospecting for only 15 days in the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia, but already we had uncovered a veritable graveyard of intact fossils.
Over the next few weeks we would apply chisel, pickax and bulldozer to the site, digging up more than a dozen examples of an ostrichlike dinosaur that was to become one of the most well known in the dinosaur world. But the story would soon grow far richer than a simple body count of fossil bones, as intact and well preserved as they might be. This group of individuals would reveal how these dinosaurs interacted with one another, how their society was built, as well as the circumstances surrounding their gruesome and untimely deaths. We were just beginning to uncover the first clues of this 90-million-year-old murder mystery. Little did I know that what we were about to learn would end up making this the richest site for a single dinosaur species I had ever encountered.