Bolortsetseg Minjin
2021

Bolortsetseg Minjin

Paleontologist

Preserving a rich natural and cultural heritage

meet bolor

A paleontologist who focuses on the protection of fossils in her native country, Mongolia, Dr. Minjin received her doctorate from a joint program between the American Museum of Natural History and the City University of New York. Shortly thereafter, she founded the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs (ISMD). Bolortsetseg worked closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to reveal illegal markets in Mongolian fossils, many of which have subsequently been shut down. In 2012, she helped establish the Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs.

Preserving a rich natural and cultural heritage
Nominated by: Julie Chase MED'97
Class of 2021 Location USA, Mongolia

I have always focused on getting young Mongolians excited about the natural treasures of their country. Locating the 1920’s campsite of Roy Chapman Andrews Central Asiatic Expeditions (CAE), where members briefly mentioned a single petroglyph on a nearby mountain and included a figure of it marked on a map, we were not prepared for what we found on the summit. We found numerous ancient petroglyphs depicting animals of the desert and many stone tombs. There were so many petroglyphs that we were not able to find the sole one mentioned by the CAE. We discovered that, even here, someone had defaced this priceless art with graffiti. This emphasizes how important it is to discover Mongolia’s archaeological treasures that can be protected for future generations.

“I am confident that the future of Mongolian paleontology is a bright one, where scientists will find a vibrant and growing community with whom to collaborate.”

- Bolortsetseg Minjin

When I became a paleontologist, I was struck by how few Mongolians were interested in this profession, even though my country has some of the richest fossil beds in the world. Most Mongolian paleontologists were nearing retirement. They focused on collaborating with foreign scientists. Through the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs (ISMD), we have conducted numerous outreach projects in the Gobi Desert. K-12 students, who once thought that dinosaurs were mythical animals, have learned about the amazing discoveries in their own backyard. Our paleontological expeditions have provided unique field and research opportunities to Mongolian undergraduate and graduate students. I am confident that the future of Mongolian paleontology is a bright one, where scientists will find a vibrant and growing community with whom to collaborate.

never stop exploring

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