I’m whiling away some of the dark Mongolian winter hours marveling at the BBC’s ‘Planet Earth’ series. Have you seen it? Just beyond, huh? A couple days ago I saw the ‘Deserts’ episode, and lo and behold the first segment was on my beloved Gobi Desert and its tiny population of wild Bactrian camels. They’re notoriously shy and hard to track, but the BBC crew was dogged, and assisted by an old Mongolian desert sage, got some astounding footage, including the males in rut, which...well, you just have to see it.
Anyway, during David Attenborough’s incomparable narration, he ends the segment by asking, “Why is the Gobi a desert?” Now, I’m putting you on the honor system. It’s a good question with an interesting answer. Without googling, or checking any other reference, try to answer it for yourself (and all of us) in the comments. Why is the Gobi a desert? Why there? Certain Gobi experts (I’m looking at you, Brother Don) might refrain and give others a whack at it first.