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

A remarkable revelation has shed light on Saudi Arabia’s rich historical tapestry. In a surprising turn of events, geologists in Saudi Arabia stumbled upon an astonishing relic buried deep within the arid expanse of the Kingdom’s desert, a whale.

The discovery is nothing short of extraordinary, as it unveils the remains of a long-extinct whale that roamed the earth some 37 million years ago. It’s a head-scratcher, to say the least, given that deserts are hardly the ideal habitat for these marine giants. It’s likely that the challenging environment contributed to their eventual extinction.

This intriguing find is not just about an ancient whale; it’s a portal to Saudi Arabia’s ancient past when the seas extended far into what is now the Peninsula. The Saudi Geological Survey proudly announced that this whale hails from the Upper Eocene era, specifically from the Al-Jawf region, located in the northwest reaches of the Kingdom.

Abdullah Al-Shamrani, the CEO of the Saudi Geological Commission, spearheaded a survey of the calcareous cliffs in the vicinity of Qurayyat and Haditha. These cliffs are rich in limestone and other chalky substances. The primary objective of this endeavor was to collect and categorize marine fossils and understand the environmental conditions that prevailed in northern Saudi Arabia approximately 37 million years ago.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first archaeological treasure that Saudi Arabia has unveiled in recent times. Earlier this year, archaeologists made a significant discovery in the northwest region of the country, an artifact that sheds light on the earliest instances of dog domestication by the region’s ancient inhabitants. The bones of these dogs exhibited signs of arthritis, hinting at the deep connection between these animals and the humans who shared their lives.

Further clues to the past were uncovered in the form of rock art that depicted Neolithic inhabitants using dogs in their hunting expeditions. These ancient huntsmen pursued a variety of game, including ibex, wild asses, and, intriguingly, perhaps even whales.

Melissa Kennedy, the assistant director of the Aerial Archaeology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (AAKSAU) – AlUla project, expressed her excitement about these revelations. She highlighted how these findings have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of periods like the Neolithic in the Middle East. The idea that people from this era may have possessed knowledge about the resting places of their ancestors for centuries is nothing short of extraordinary, especially in this region during that time.

This incredible discovery is just one of many unfolding within AlUla, an ancient city tucked away in the northwest desert of Saudi Arabia. AlUla, once an oasis valley in the vast desert of the Northwest Arabian Peninsula, served as a critical crossroads on the incense trade route. Over its storied history, it bore witness to the rise and fall of powerful civilizations spanning three millennia.

In summary, the unearthing of a 37 million-year-old whale fossil in Saudi Arabia’s desert is a testament to the nation’s rich and diverse history. It provides a fascinating glimpse into a time when the desert was an entirely different landscape, teeming with marine life, and offers invaluable insights into the lives of ancient inhabitants who shared their world with domesticated dogs and embarked on daring hunts for creatures, including the enigmatic desert-dwelling whales. These discoveries are rewriting the narrative of the past, placing Saudi Arabia firmly on the map of archaeological exploration and historical fascination.

Source: Esquire Middle East