HOME Geology Sites Wadi El-Hitan, Egypt
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  Wadi El-Hitan

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Added in: march 2012
Last Modified in: march 2012

Geology site description:

In the Wadi El-Hitan or 'valley of the whales'many well preserved fossil whale skeletons have been found. The locality was added to the Unesco World Heritage list in 2005. The whales found here have still pieces of hind legs. They are important for the knowledge about the evolution of the whales going from land back to the sea. The whales have been found in yellow brown sandstone from the middle and upper Eocene, part of the Paleogene period. These are marine (sea) deposits of the Gebel Gehannam and the Qasr el Sagha formations.

Above these formations follow delta and river sediments from the Gebel Qatrania formation. These are from the Oligocene and contain petrified wood and mammal fossils.

Fossils of sea mammals like early whales have been found (Basilosaurus and Dirudon). Also fossils of sea turtle, sea cows, crocodiles, shark teeth, bivalves, foraminifers, petrified wood (i.e. mangrove), birds and mammal remains have been found.

The location is an open air museum where you can view the fossils in their original location. Taking fossils of course is strictly prohibited.

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The site is located about 180 kilometers southwest of Cairo.

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