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Natural UAE

Vertebrate Fossils from the Miocene

In 1979 a palaeontologist from the Natural History Museum, London, visited Jebel Dhanna in Abu Dhabi's Western Region and discovered some fossil horse teeth weathering out of soft sandstones. These teeth, belonging to the first known fossil horses from Arabia, were from an extinct animal called Hipparion , about the size of a small pony that had three toes to each of its feet. Hipparion is unknown in the Old World before 11 million years but geological maps of the Western Region indicated that the rocks were equivalent in time to rocks previously described from Saudi Arabia and dated at about 16 million years old. The horse fossils disproved the evidence detailed on the geological maps and showed that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi had the only known record of fossiliferous late Miocene rocks from the whole of the Arabian Peninsula.

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