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Natural UAE


Shuweihat is an island lending its name to an exposure of Miocene rocks, the Shuweihat Formation, deposited as much as 14 million years ago. Aeolian (wind-blown) sands consolidated into rock that preserved the cross-bedding characteristic of their origin. These accessible outcrops have received much attention from geologists and palaeontologists from the Natural History Museum of London and Yale University.

The Baynunah Formation, another distinct series of rocks, but of fluvial origin, were deposited more recently than those at Shuweihat and bear vertebrate remains from some 7 or 8 million years ago. These finds are the only ones of their kind in the whole of the Arabian peninsula. Three species of fish, eight of reptile, two of bird and 31 of mammals have so far been identified. Amongst these have been crocodile, hippopotamus, and a primitive elephant. The fauna and landscape was somewhat akin to that found at the present time in East Africa.

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