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x Archeological Park of Wadi Al-Hitan

Wadi Al-Hitan (‘Whale Valley’) is situated in the Western Desert of Egypt, in El-Fayoum Governorate, around 150 km south-west of Cairo. It contains countless fossil remains of one of the earliest species of the extinct suborder of whales, Archaeoceti. Besides being a protected area, the site was declared a world natural heritage site by the UNESCO in 2005. The Valley of the Whales (or the Zeuglodon Valley) was discovered in 1936 and ever since, it became an open museum that dates back to 45 million years and contains petrified primitive whales skeletons, shark teeth , shells and roots of mangroves preserved in soft rocks. Some of the amazing discoveries in the valley is the large walking whale, which once had feet and used to walk on the shore before getting into water. It is called Ambulocetus natans, moved easily between land and sea. Having the size of a walrus, it inhabited coastal environments. With the fossils found, much information about the life of flora and fauna are driven. It is worth noting how clearly these fossils represent one of the major stories of evolution: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. This significant phase of evolution is vividly demonstrated at this site. What also distinguishes the area is the existence of movable sand dunes, four natural sulfuric springs, plant groups that contain 15 species of desert plants, about 15 types of wild mammals (such as the white deer, the Egyptian deer, fennec fox (sand fox), red fox and others), 16 species of reptiles, as well as over 100 species of resident and migrating birds.

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