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UAE-ARCHAEOLOGY: ELEPHANT FOSSILS FOUND IN WESTERN ABU DHABI
[March 29, 2006]

UAE-ARCHAEOLOGY: ELEPHANT FOSSILS FOUND IN WESTERN ABU DHABI

(Comtex Environment Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)ABU DHABI, Mar. 28 WAM, 2006 (QNA via COMTEX) --An important new site for fossil bones of ancient elephants has been discovered near Bida Al Mutawa, in Abu Dhabi's Western Region, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), by a team from the Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS), part of the Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Authority (ADCHA).

The bones date back to the Late Miocene period, around 6 to 8 million years ago. The fossil site was first discovered by Hamed Majid al-Mansouri and other personnel from Abu Dhabi's Animal Welfare Unit, part of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, and was reported to President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan late last year.

Following instructions from Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, an ADIAS team visited the site and confirmed that the bones were, in fact, from fossil elephants. Other fossil bones from the same period were also identified, as well as fossil tree roots up to ten metres long.


A team including a top fossil expert from London has now completed excavation of several major fossil bones and has brought them back to Abu Dhabi for scientific conservation and possible later display.

During the Late Miocene period, Abu Dhabi was a land of wide open plains with large, slow-moving rivers, rather like today's savannahs of East Africa. Previous studies at the TAKREER site at Ruwais and elsewhere in Abu Dhabi's Western Region have showed that a large variety of animals then lived in the region, including primitive elephants, horses, hippopotami, gazelles, crocodiles and turtles.

A small exhibition of some of the fossils found during previous work by ADIAS and by scientists from the United States and Britain is currently on display.

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