In the desert valley of Wadi al-Hitan, some 150 km southwest of Cairo, Egypt has unveiled what it said is the Middle East’s first museum dedicated to fossils that showcases an early form of whales, now extinct and known as the “walking whale.”
The centerpiece of the museum is a 37-million-year-old and 18-meter-long skeleton of a legged form of whale that testifies to how modern-day whales evolved from land mammals. In addition, a substantial collection of fossils and other distinctive items from across Egypt exhibits the climate change process on planet Earth The museum is following the same architectural character of an indoor museum is being built. It is half buried under the ground, only exposing the curves of the domes and vault.
The new museum architectural style is mimicking the nature and the landscape of the surrounding environment . It is half buried under the ground, only exposing the curves of the domes and vault. The construction of this museum was made possible with the support of the Egyptian Ministry of Environmental Affairs, UNDP and the Government of Italy.
The museum’s fossils explain one of the greatest mysteries of the evolution of whales: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. The fossils of Wadi Al-Hitan dating back to 50 million years show the youngest archaeocetes, in the last stages of evolution from land animals to a marine existence. Many of the whale skeletons are in good condition as they have been well preserved in the rock formations.
The Museum was opened as part of concentrated government efforts to attract much-needed tourists, driven away by recent militant attacks, and restore confidence in the safety of its attractions.
Entrance Fees: Free.