This Issue is : 02-2014

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Wadi Al-Hitan one of the strangest unknown archaeological sites in the world

Wadi Al-Hitan one of the strangest unknown archaeological sites in the world
 
Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley) is a remote valley in the desert of Egypt, where a high number of fossils and strange types of them were being found including wild old whales are dated back to the geological era "Eocene", its located in the protected area "Wadi Rayan" in AlFayoum, 150 km southwest of Cairo, its about 1759 kilometers square.

Wadi Al-Hitan is the most important site in the world to demonstrate one of the iconic changes that make up the record of life on Earth: the evolution of the whales. It portrays vividly their form and mode of life during their transition from land animals to a marine existence. It exceeds the values of other comparable sites in terms of the number, concentration and quality of its fossils, and their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape.

It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2005 for its hundreds of fossils of some of the earliest forms of whale. The site reveals evidence for the explanation of one of the greatest mysteries of the evolution of whales: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. No other place in the world yields the number, concentration and quality of such fossils, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape.

Wadi Al-Hitan is famous for existing of complete whales fossils, these whales were existing in this region more that 40 millions years ago. The first fossil skeletons of whales were discovered in 1902, it was found fossils of the whole Basilosaurus that its length arrives to 18m, and Dorudon between 3 to 5 meters, other mammals are represented by the skeletons of three species of sirenia or sea cows. These were fully marine like the whales, and likewise show primitive features not seen in modern species and possess teeth that suggest that they grazed on sea grasses and other marine plants. Bones of the primitive elephant Moeritherium have also been recorded. There are many species of bony fish, sharks and rays represented. Larger fish fossils include the rostra and pegs of sawfish; a sawfish rostrum of 1.8 metres long is laid out in the park.
 
 
Written By: Dr. Ali Taha
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