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.
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.