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Valley of the Whales

 

Secrets Of The Natural Reserve Valley of the Whales (Wadi Al-Hitan), this region is the most numerous in the quality of fossilscompared to other sites around the world.

Valley of the Whales

  • The mere existence of whale bones in a barren desert is a science fiction, but it is a fact found in Egypt, the land of civilizations.

Valley of the Whales 

  • Its Geographical location is inside (Wadi Al-Rayan natural Reserveas it is considered to be one of the most important oases in the Western Desert, and covers an area of (1759) km in Fayoum Governorate, while the natural reserve of whales Valley covers a small area at most (20 km), and it is about (170 kmsouthwest of Cairo, The natural reserve of whales Valley dates back to 40 million years.

Names given to the valley

  • Names given to Valley of the whales was (the continent of hell), or (the mountain of hell) because the summer temperatures are so high that minerals, and rocks turn to red colour  from the intensity of the sun's heat, then nowadays it called Whales valley because of the large number of fossilized whales found in it.

How was whales valley discovered?


Valley of the Whales

Whales valley was discovered  in 1903 by the scientist called (bid tal) through a geological survey in Egypt, as he found fossilized bones, he called it (Basilo saurus Isis), he thought mistakenly, it was fossilized dinosaurs bones, but in 1989 the chief of the American mission who called (Philip Gingerich) announced that what had been discovered were fossilized whale bones of rare species and not fossilized dinosaurs bones.


Valley of the Whales

Importance of (Wadi Al-Hitan)

Importance of (Wadi Al-Hitan) distinguished as an environmentalscientific, and geological tourist attraction, it was characterized by the presence of small sand hills and rocky outcrops of sandstone of various shapes that gave the region this global importance, it also represents a unique open geology museum, it contains 406 skeletons of whales, including 205 complete skeletons, which helped scientists to know the stages of development of this creature’s life, which has transformed over the years from a wild creature to a marine creature.


It is worth noting that the preservation of the fossilized bones of marine organisms in whales valley is unique, and very rare, due to the nature of the limestone sedimentary rocks in the valley of the whales, so it helped to preserve these, in 2005 Valley of the Whales was classified by UNESCO, as a World Heritage Area.


Valley of the Whales

How did  whales live in this arid desert?

This area is about (200 km) away from the coastline, which made many people do not believe the presence of whales in this area, but the confirmed fact indicates that there are a many whales, in addition to other types of fishdolphins, and sea turtles, that was due to the fact that from 40 million years ago this area, North Africa, Egypt, parts of Europe, and part of the Arabian Peninsula was under a very large ocean called (Sea of Tissi), as result of geological changes, the ocean waters receded leaving behind it, remains of some marine animals buried in sedimentary layers.

Valley of the Whales

Rock of the Germans

Rock of the Germans is one of the most famous landmarks of the valley, there are Marks in German language, have been found on this rock, indicating that  fighter pilot, landed  with his crew near the rock in 1942, during World War II, as for the animals which are currently in this region, there are many endangered animals such as sand fox, mink fox, white deer, cobra, and Fennec fox, which is the smallest species of foxes in the world.

References

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadi_El_Hitan

2. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1186/

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadi_El_Rayan

 

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Asmaa Ahmed

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