Is There an Uncharted Land in China With Dinosaurs? Fact-Checking the Conspiracy


Jan. 15 2024, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

 Dinosaur bones at the Tsintosaurus fossil site at the Laiyang Cretaceous National Geopark in Yanta in 2023
Source: Getty Images

Conspiracy theories are nothing new to the internet. People have long claimed crazy ideas as fact, like how NASA isn’t exploring the oceans anymore — which isn’t true — or how West Virginia was under a chemical attack as white dust settled over towns — the dust was pollen. Now, the internet can’t stop talking about an alleged uncharted land in China with dinosaurs that the Chinese government is trying to hide.

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Learn more about this conspiracy theory by reading about how it started and why people easily fall for outlandish claims. The research reveals more about human nature and how intentional or unintentional theories center around safety.

Dinosaur bones at the Laiyang Cretaceous National Geopark in Yantai, Shandong province, China in October 2023
Source: Getty Images
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Is there really an uncharted area of land in China with dinosaurs?

There is no uncharted land in China with dinosaurs. It may seem obvious, but a viral video has everyone discussing the possibility of this fantastical conspiracy. The numerous details and supposed confirmation from the nail salon specialist who allegedly spoke Chinese seemed to confirm the story’s factuality for many viewers.

Here's how the conspiracy theory started.

In the nearly three-minute TikTok, user @ravenguru2, better known as Raven Holiday, explains how she used a translator app to listen to Chinese news at a nail salon. The station allegedly reported that Chinese officials discovered uncharted land with dinosaurs, and their government wanted to keep the thousands to millions of creatures a secret.

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Two tourists are standing in front of a straw sculpture featuring a dinosaur during an art exhibition on March 6, 2023 in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China
Source: Getty Images

Holiday claimed the dinosaurs were a new species over 13 feet tall, and the Chinese government could allegedly unleash them on the U.S. at any time.

The video ends with Holiday warning that Americans would be running for their lives soon. She requested that viewers follow her for updates, which she hasn’t ever posted.

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According to the AP News, China did release an updated map of the country, but only added unofficial territory in the South China Sea. Chinese researchers also recently found a new forest with a massive sinkhole, per Smithsonian Magazine.

A few dinosaur-related discoveries have occurred lately, but none of the dinosaurs were alive. Researchers found well-preserved dinosaur footprints in Shanghang County, according to GlobalLink. A study with The Science of Nature noted the discovery of a new dinosaur species from the Permian period in China after researchers found bones in Xinjiang.

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The combination of these activities lends enough real-world evidence to potentially support ravenguru2’s theory if someone searched for new dinosaurs in China after watching her video. However, there’s no evidence that any of the dinosaurs were alive or that there’s any uncharted territory within China.

Two dinosaur models displayed at Heyuan Dinosaur Museum on October 26, 2022 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China
Source: Getty Images
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Why do people believe conspiracy theories so easily?

People may believe in things like uncharted land in China with dinosaurs because conspiracy theories blend reality and fiction so well. The American Psychological Association found that people who become conspiracy believers have a mix of certain traits like:

  • A strong support of their intuition

  • A sense of superiority over others

  • An existing sense of antagonism toward individuals or specific groups

  • A heightened belief in threats within the environment

  • One or more mental health conditions, diagnosed or not

  • A desire to make sense of their existing distress or prejudices

TikTok is an especially easy place to fall for conspiracy theories. A NewsGuard report found that 20 percent of top news stories on TikTok have foundations of misinformation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences also published a study that found people will share misinformation whether or not they think it’s true.

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Posts like Holiday’s may get tons of views, but that doesn’t mean everyone believes it. However, the higher view count might make some viewers think the topic is cause for concern if that many people are talking about a scary or threatening idea.

Visitors taking pictures of the dinosaur skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex on display in Singapore on October 28, 2022
Source: Getty Images

Delve into conspiracy theories with caution.

Although a quick Google search will easily prove there isn’t uncharted land in China with dinosaurs, misinformation remains an issue. When someone invents a new conspiracy theory, algorithms, and interested viewers will likely share it. It’s up to each person to read or hear things with caution.

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