Follow the footsteps of the dinosaurs in Patagonia and Turkmenistan
Dinosaur tracks among mountain goats and caves
Turkmenistan may not be the most obvious tourist destination. Nevertheless, the Central Asian country has some of the most impressive and well-preserved dinosaur footprints. You can measure your feet with the footprints in the nature reserve Köýtendag in eastern Turkmenistan on the border of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
The reserve is located in a mountainous, untouched and difficult to access area. The rare fieldhorn mountain goats lives here and you can recognize them with their distinctive screw horns.
Between a myriad of steep gorges and the country’s highest mountain Airybaba (3137 m.) Lies the unique dinosaur plateau. A former river where more than 438 dinosaur footprints have been immortalized in the subsoil — sealed by lava from one of the past volcanic eruptions. Nearby you can explore the well-preserved underground Karlyuk caves if you dare to move inside.
Permits for the reserve
Köýtendag is not open to mass tourism and requires careful planning. To get to the area you have to travel a five to six hour drive from Türkmenabat through desert and mountains.
However, be aware that access to the reserve requires a special permit. It is most easily obtained through a local travel agency, who can also help arrange transportation, private accommodation and an accompanying guide.
The Giants of Patagonia
In Patagonia, Argentina, some of the most impressive fossil and dinosaur finds have been made, which can be experienced here and at natural history museums around the world. Among other things, the world’s largest dinosaur: A well-preserved eight-meter-high and forty-meter-long Titanosaurus that lived over 100 million years ago.
The 180 giant bones were found in the province of Chubut and can be seen at the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio (MEF), located in Trelew in southeastern Patagonia. Due to the large size of the dinosaur, they are expanding the museum so that it can be built to its full extent.
Until then, you are able to see a selection of the giant bones at the museum, and on the outskirts of the city, a 1: 1 statue of the dinosaur, Replica del Titanosaurio, has been displayed. You can get a sense of the giant find and visualize the aspect ratios of an image.
New fossil finds are constantly being discovered in the region, so it’s all about going on adventures and follow the footsteps of dinosaurs.