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Egypt accuses Belgian diplomats of damaging ancient whale fossils
The Associated Press
Published: August 27, 2007
CAIRO, Egypt: Egyptian authorities have accused Belgian diplomats of damaging a 40 million-year-old whale fossil when they allegedly drove over the ancient remains in a protected desert area, an official said Monday. Belgian officials denied any damage was done.
Wadi el-Hitan contains fossils of the extinct suborder of whales, the archaeoceti, that date back about 40 million years. UNESCO says the fossils show the evolution of the whale from a land-based mammal to an ocean animal.
Wadi el-Hitan contains fossils of the extinct suborder of whales, the archaeoceti, that date back about 40 million years.
Diplomats Wreak Havoc in World Heritage Site
Carousing diplomats in Egypt have taken their immunity one step too far (you will understand this pun, soon enough).Â Four by fours plowed through Wadi Al-Hitan, or 'Whale Valley' - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is the most important site in the world for the demonstration of this stage of evolution. It portrays vividly the form and life of these whales during their transition. The number, concentration and quality of such fossils here is unique, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape...Other fossil material in the site makes it possible to reconstruct the surrounding environmental and ecological conditions of the time...
...[The site] exceeds the values of other comparable sites in terms of the number, concentration and quality of its fossils, and their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape.
Source: whc.unesco.org via ScienceDave
Hans Thewissen first went to Pakistan for paleontological fieldwork in
1984 while a graduate student at the University of Utrecht. Since then he
has studied rocks and fossils from most parts of the country, including
60 million year old deposits near the Indian Ocean
| Basilosaurids and
Dorudontids | Bibliography | Hearing
| India |
Locomotion | Mysticetes
| Odontocetes | Osmoregulation
| Pakicetidae |
Pakistan | Protocetidae
| Remingtonocetidae | Whale
| Whale Origins!
Thewissen lab focuses on the area between Islamabad
and the Afghan border, where particularly interesting early Eocene sediments
(approximately 50 million years old) can be found. There are rich fossil beds
in the Eocene of Pakistan, and the animals in these faunas are fascinating because
they document a time right after the collision of the Indian continent with
Asia. At that time, Indo-Pakistan had been drifting in isolation in the Indian
Ocean for 70 a million year period
Art sales: selling one dream to buy another
Colin Gleadell reports on the Turner sale
The best private collection of Turner watercolours on the market for a generation is to be sold at Sotheby's tomorrow evening. Estimated to fetch between Â£10 million and Â£15 million, the 14 paintings span 50 years of the artist's career, culminating in his late, impressionistic views of Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
A year later, however, he stopped. "I invest in dreams, and I am involved in all kinds of projects," he told me on a fleeting visit to London last week. He and his wife, Myriam, are deeply involved in humanitarian work, notably in Nepal where they have set up an orphanage called "Happy House" in Kathmandu. But his biggest recent commitment has been the building of a contemporary art museum in Beijing.