Memos from Asia

Plateau of Dinosaurs – Mysterious Place in Turkmenistan

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In the north-east of Turkmenistan, there is an oblique limestone plateau near to Khojapil village. The slab is trampled by dinosaurs, who lived 140-150 million years ago in the Jurassic period. The footprints of the large lizards are remained and clearly seen in the plateau. The size of the slab is 400 by 300 metres (1,312 x 984 feet).

Dinosaur footprints on the Jurassic Limestone, Kugitangtau mountains, Hodshapil (Photo Credit: Klaus Schonitzer CC BY-SA 4.0)

You cannot find another analogue of the Dinosaurs’ Plateau on our planet.

There are more than 3,000 well-preserved tracks of dinosaurs. It is the world record number, which makes the plateau the most unique place. (Live Journal, https://tomkad.livejournal.com/178225.html)

Dimensions of dinosaurs

The investigation of the tracks showed that the foot of the reptiles was 70×65 cm (28×26 inch), while the step width reached 1.5-2.2 metres (5-7.2 feet).

The subsequent studies have concluded that the body length of dinosaurs was 5-10 metres (16-33 feet), the height reached 6-8 metres (20-26 feet) and the weight was 5-10 tons.

Moreover, The plateau has relatively small tracks of dinosaurs up to 45 cm (18 inches). (The State Committee for Tourism, http://tourism.gov.tm/ru/dinosaur.php)

Why mysterious?

Dinosaur Sign / Turkmenistan, Karakum Desert (Photo Credit: Flydime CC BY-SA 3.0)

The place keeps so many interesting secrets. The discovery of the place accompanied by the sensation. When scientists and palaeontologists explored the place, they found footprints which belong to dinosaurs and also the tracks of “humanoid” creatures.

In the third expedition was organized by Institute of Geology before the collapse of SSSR, several “human” tracks were recorded among the dinosaur tracks. The length of the human footprint was 26 cm (10 inches), which is the same as the 43rd shoe size today.

Many newspapers, programs and news agencies reported the sensational news. (Live Journal, https://tomkad.livejournal.com/178225.html)

Legends and myths

The locals have their own legends, myths and stories about the Plateau of Dinosaurs. We will give 2 of them as an example:

  • The Plateau situated near to the village Khodjapil, which means “Sacred elephants” in Turkmen. According to the legend, the plateau was a place for elephants to gather and do sacred dances.
  • The second legend is associated with Alexander the Great. The place was originated in the battle by the elephants of the commander can be a short meaning of the legend. (Adventure, https://www.advantour.com/turkmenistan/gaurdak/dinosaur-plateau.htm)

Nature around

(Photo Credit: Klaus Schonitzer CC BY-SA 4.0)

The region where the plateau located is famous for spectacular natural landscapes, rich flora and variety of animals. Hundreds of bird species dwell nearby areas. Besides, rare animals in the region like markhor goat and brown bears live there.

How to get there?

Unfortunately getting to the village or plateau can be an extremely difficult task. Turkmenistan cannot boast of tourist amenities and infrastructure.

Of course, you can hire a car but it may be somehow pricey. If you anyway want to rent a car, hire sport utility vehicle (SUV) due to terrible road conditions and solid climbs in the journey.

The region where the Dinosaurs Plateau situated is mountainous and located in an altitude of 1200-1300 metres (3,937 – 4,265 feet). (Pikabu, https://pikabu.ru/story/turkmenistan_khodzhapil__zagadochnoe_plato_dinozavrov_6423768)

Museum

The government of Turkmenistan opened an international museum in the capital city of Ashgabat. Take advantage of the museum called “Sport and Tourism in the era of New Renaissance”. It is a great opportunity to see fossilized dinosaur footprints without commuting to Plateau of Dinosaurs. (Gundogarnews, http://gundogar-news.com/index.php?category_id=6&news_id=2313)

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