'Walking whale' fossils unveiled in Egypt

VALLEY OF THE WHALES, Egypt -- Egypt on Thursday 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.

See Full Article

"

The unveiling is 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.

Security concerns were palpable as media crews toured the new museum at the desert Valley of the Whales, located about 170 kilometres southwest of the capital, Cairo. Dozens of heavily-armed military officers in black balaclavas stood guard alongside plainclothes policemen, poorly disguised in local Bedouin dress that short enough to reveal their uniforms underneath.

Egypt's tourist numbers fell sharply in the years since the 2011 popular uprising ousted Egypt's longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. A long running Islamic insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula intensified after the 2013 ouster by the military of Mubarak's successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, worsening tourism woes.

The construction of the much-hyped Fossils and Climate Change Museum was covered a 2. 17 billion dollars grant from Italy, according to Italian Ambassador Maurizio Massari.

Its centerpiece is an intact, 37-million-year-old and 20-meter-long skeleton of a legged form of whale that testifies to how modern-day whales evolved from land mammals.

The sand-colored, dome-shaped museum is barely discernible in the breathtaking desert landscape that stretches all around.

"When you build something somewhere so beautiful and unique, it has to blend in with its surrounding ... or it would be a crime against nature," the museum's architect Gabriel Mikhail said, pointing to the surrounding sand dunes.

"We are confident visitors will come," he added, smiling.

Egypt's tourism industry was further shattered by the suspected terror bombing that brought down the Russian airliner over Sinai last October, killing all 224 people on board. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

The Valley of the Whales' museum is also home to prehistoric tools used by early humans and various whale fossils exhibited in glass boxes corroborating the evolutionary transition of the early whales from land to water creatures.

A supposedly unique rock collection was seemingly hastily numbered by a permanent blue marker.

But Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy cautioned against interpreting the museum's opening as a "full endorsement of the theory of evolution," which conflicts with Islam.

"That is an entirely different matter," he said. "We are still tied to our Islamic belief system."



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Heat wave suffocates American Southwest on 1st day of summer

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Don Kushner emerged from his afternoon hike on Camelback Mountain clearly a little run down from the heat. Kushner was one of the few who ignored warnings to avoid strenuous outdoor activity and decided to exercise outside on one of the hottest days in Phoenix's recorded history. Source
  • World population to hit 9.8 billion by 2050: UN

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A new UN report forecasts that the current world population of 7.6 billion will reach 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. The report by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division released Wednesday said roughly 83 million people are being added to the world's population every year. Source
  • Flying bikes, anti-drone trackers, and the next Concorde: The best of the 2017 Paris Air Show [Video]

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    PARIS — There are flying cars and Concorde’s would-be supersonic successor, a company offering to deliver cargo to the Moon — for a mere $1.2 million per kilogram — and the latest in funky futuristic aviation ideas, both big and small. Source
  • Crack in Antarctic ice shelf ready to produce giant iceberg

    Tech & Science CBC News
    One of the biggest icebergs on record is like a "niggling tooth" about to snap off Antarctica and will be an extra hazard for ships around the frozen continent as it breaks up, scientists said on Wednesday. Source
  • Crack in Antarctic ice shelf ready to produce 5,000-square-kilometre iceberg

    Tech & Science CBC News
    One of the biggest icebergs on record is like a "niggling tooth" about to snap off Antarctica and will be an extra hazard for ships around the frozen continent as it breaks up, scientists said on Wednesday. Source
  • OMG new emojis :) Unicode Consortium releases Unicode v10.0 [Photos]

    Tech & Science Toronto Sun
    Oh My God – or, OMG, as the kids say – new emojis are coming our way! The Unicode Consortium, a non-profit group responsible for standardizing digital characters, released version 10.0 of the Unicode Standard on Tuesday. Source
  • Intel looks to Israel for the next big thing in cybersecurity

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Intel has joined Team8, an Israeli creator of cybersecurity startups, as a strategic partner and will help with the formation of companies that address the largest cybersecurity problems, Team8 said on Wednesday. Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, joins Team8's syndicate members Microsoft, Cisco, Qualcomm, AT&T, Citigroup, Accenture, Nokia, Bessemer Venture Partners and Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors. Source
  • Coffee crops at risk from climate change: higher prices ahead?

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Your morning cup of coffee could be threatened by climate change. Researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in the United Kingdom have found that more than half of Ethiopia's coffee production could be wiped out unless farmers move to higher ground. Source
  • Why your morning caffeine fix could be in jeopardy, given a warming planet

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Your morning cup of coffee could be threatened by climate change. Researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in the United Kingdom have found that more than half of Ethiopia's coffee production could be wiped out unless farmers move to higher ground. Source
  • Egypt watchdog says authorities now blocking 101 websites

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAIRO -- An Egyptian watchdog says authorities are widening their internet censorship and are now blocking 101 websites, including some that provide software that allows users to bypass restrictions. The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression in a statement late on Tuesday said that Egypt has blocked seven additional sites, noting that the number occasionally differs depending on which company is used to access internet. Source