The Korea-Mongolia International Dinosaur Expedition (nickname, KID expedition) began in 2006 with the cooperation of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) and the Paleontological Center of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (PCMAS). The purpose of this expedition was to discover, collect, and study scientifically important dinosaur specimens from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, and to utilize displayable specimens in the new dinosaur museum at the Hwaseong City.
The KID expedition ran for about 40 days in the Gobi between August and September of every year from 2006 to 2010. The team coordinated by KIGAM was augmented each year by dinosaur researchers from eleven countries such as Korea, the USA, Canada, China, Japan, and so on. So, this project was the first multi-international dinosaur expedition in the Gobi after the famous Roy Chapman Andrews’s expedition of the American Museum of Natural History in 1923. The expedition team consisted of an average of 15 researchers and 13 Mongolian supporters such as drivers, cooks, and workers. Two Russian military trucks and several mini-vans were used for transportation.
Almost all expeditions had been performed in the southwestern Gobi such as the Nemegt Basin, Altan Uul, Khermeen Tsav, Bugiin Tsav, Gurlin Tsav, Nogon Tsav, Khuree Tsav, Ulan Khushu, and Tsagan Khushu plus Bayan Shiree, Khar Khutul, and Shine Us Khudag in the eastern Gobi in 2007.
The base camp was set up at Ulan Khushu in 2006, and we prospected the Nemegt Formation at Ulan Khushu, Altan Uul, Bugiin Tsav, and Gurlin Tsav. A variety of dinosaurs were collected from Alan Uul localities including Tarbosaurus, Gallimimus, ornithomimids, Deinocheirus, dromaeosaurids, and Saurolophus as well as crocodiles and turtles. In Altan Uul III, we excavated an articulated pelvic girdle and tail of an adult Tarbosaurus. A new juvenile Deinocheirus was collected from Altan Uul IV. Another important discovery was a juvenile Tarbosaurus with stomach contents from Altan Uul III. In addition, we excavated a complete new ornithomimid skeleton at Ulan Khushu.
In 2007, a new sauropod was collected in the Bayanshiree Formation at Shine Us Khudag in the eastern Gobi with 32 big and small plaster jackets, which contains almost all skeletal elements except for the skull. Many ankylosaur specimens were also collected in this formation including three skulls of Talarurus. After Shine Us Khudag, we moved to Khermeen Tsav where we found crocodiles, Bagaceratops, Tarbosaurus maxilla, dinosaur footprints, and a dinosaur egg nest with embryos.
In 2008, we were back to Khermeen Tsav and found a new Tarchia specimen, which includes a complete skull, pelvic girdle, and almost all caudal vertebrae with a tail club. Bagaceratops was common in this area, but many of them were incomplete. Besides dinosaurs, small vertebrate faunas were also abundant such as mammals, lizards, and birds from the Baruungoyot Formation.
We found the second specimen of Deinocheirus from a big poached quarry at a northwestern valley of Bugiin Tsav in 2009. The skull and feet were already disappeared, but almost all postcranial skeletons were left in the quarry including complete cervical vertebrae. From one tracksite, we also found 14 theropod trackways associated with an articulated ornithomimid right foot, which was found in the mudstone beneath the track-bearing sandy mudstone layer.
The base camp was set up at Bugiin Tsav in 2010. We found articulated oviraptorid hindlimbs with the pelvis and several oviraptorid nests. A juvenile Tarbosaurus was also found in relatively unexplored Khuree Tsav where is located between Bugiin Tsav and Nogon Tsav. Although the bones were a little scattered, this juvenile Tarbosaurus was almost complete including the skull.
Through five years expedition, a total of 267 plaster jackets and 125 boxes were transported to the Paleontological Center in Ulaanbaatar and then shipped to Hwaseong City, Korea. Most specimens have been prepared and are now under scientific studies. Important paleontological results expect to become out in the near future. The first outcome was about Deinocheirus, which was published in Nature in 2014.