Saudi geologists just discovered a 37 million-year-old extinct whale in the desert

Saudi geologists just discovered a 37 million-year-old extinct whale in the desert

The finding is another key to unearthing Saudi Arabia’s ancient history.

Geologists in Saudi Arabia recently unearthed the remains possibly the last animal one would expect to find in the Kingdom’s vast desert: a whale.
Yes, the remains of a 37 million-year-old extinct whale have been found in a Saudi Arabian desert. Experts have found it extremely difficult for whales to survive in the desert, which probably explains the extinction. 

But seriously—the amazing discovery is a key to Saudi Arabia’s ancient history, when the sea expanded far within the borders of the present day Peninsula. The Saudi Geological Survey announced that the whale was from the Upper Eocene era, in the Al-Jawf region, northwest of the Kingdom. 

CEO of the Saudi Geological Commission Abdullah Al-Shamrani said that a survey was conducted on the calcareous cliffs, which contain limestone and other chalky substances, near the governorates of Qurayyat and Haditha. 

The survey aimed to gather and identify the types of marine fossils and their deposition on environments in northern Saudi Arabia 37 million years ago.
This is not the first archaeological source that Saudi Arabia has discovered. 

Earlier this year, archaeologists in northwest Saudi Arabia uncovered the earliest evidence of dog domestication by the region’s ancient inhabitants. The dog’s bones showed signs of arthritis, which suggests the animal lived with the humans into its middle or old age. 

Rock art found in the region indicates that the Neolithic inhabitants used dogs when hunting ibex, wild asses, and other animals, maybe whales. 

“What we are finding will revolutionize how we view periods like the Neolithic in the Middle East. To have that kind of memory—that people may have known for hundreds of years where their kin were buried – that’s unheard of in this period in this region,” said Melissa Kennedy, assistant director of the Aerial Archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (AAKSAU) – AlUla project.
The discovery came from one of the many projects happening in the many archaeological surveys and excavations happening in AlUla, the ancient and unexplored city sitting in the Northwest desert of the country. 

AlUla is a largely unknown oasis valley in the vast desert of the Northwest Arabian Peninsula, once a prosperous and important crossroad on the incense route and home to 3,000 years of powerful successive civilizations.


Share this article

You Might Also Like