03 August 2005

Whale Valley Egypt’s new World Heritage site

Egypt's Wadi al-Hitan, known as Whale Valley was listed as a World Heritage site. Wadi al-Hitan is a remote valley 150 km southwest of Cairo, where hundreds of fossil whale skeletons are being exposed by the wind. They lie trapped in a sandstone formation that represents an ancient sea bed.

The site first discovered during the winter of 1902-03 is known for its amazing fossil remains of now-extinct whales. 397+ skeletons of 5 different primitive whale species, in addition to 70+ sea cows or manatees lie on the sandy desert floor and are in need of protection and interpretation.

Wadi Al-Hitan is the most important site in the world to demonstrate the evolution of the whales from land animals to a marine existence. The fossils show the last whales known to have legs.

According to the IUCN, "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."

"The number, concentration and quality of such fossils here is unique, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape," Unesco says.


1 comment:

Matthias Ripp said...

Sounds interesting!
I would like to learn more about this new UNESCO World Heritage Site. Is anyone interested in writing a small report with photos on it for my Wesite http://worldheritage-forum.net/ ?