Location: Northern Niger, Agadez Region
Age of fossil beds: Lower Cretaceous, 135 million years old
Primary Goals: Investigate lower cretaceous beds; develop a strategy for leading a team into the Sahara


Discovery of a sauropod graveyard. Sereno would return with a team in 1993 and 1997 to further investigate and excavate this site.


A visit to the sauropod graveyard…

“I and one assistant joined several English colleagues on an Expedition across the Sahara to Cretaceous beds in Niger. The primary goals of this expedition was to excavate a rich bed of fossil fish bones that had been discovered on a previous expedition and to better describe the strata of the region. My personal goal was to learn how to take an expedition across the worlds largest desert and to explore dinosaur-bearing horizons in the same region as the fish beds. Although the total length of the expedition exceeded two months, I would be able to spend only 10 days exploring the dinosaur beds.

We drove four vehicles from London, crossed the Channel by ferry, and then drove south across France. We passed by ferry to Tunisia, crossing Algeria to arrive in Niger. We used compass bearings and maps, because the global-positioning-system of satellite navigation was not yet operative in the Sahara.

David Ward, Peter Forey and their team recovered abundant fossils of the coelacanth Mawsonia and logged detailed geologic sections. On the seventh day in search of dinosaur bone, we were led to an impressive sauropod graveyard by a local Tuareg chieftain. Some day, I mused while gazing at a huge backbone that lay exposed on the surface, I would return.”

– Paul Sereno