35-million-year-old fossils discovered in Dohfar

Muscat: Geologists have found fossils of primitive elephants and other mammals such as rodents and hoofs in the area of Eidm in Dhofar Governorate, according to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.  These fossils date back to a geological age known as the Oligocene, as they were deposited about 35 million years ago. They contain a distinctive group of bones and teeth of these primitive mammals.

The geological national team, presided over by Dr. Mohammed bin Hilal al Kindi, Head of Omani Geology Society, found that rock sequences in Eidm, south of Dhofar, are featured with sedimentary layers, mostly represent sediments of shallow seas or marshes and coastal lanes. They contain a huge number of marine fossils such as snails, shellfish, marine sponges, coral, sea urchins and a variety of fish bones. They also contain bones of mammals that lived near shallow seas such as species of extinct elephants and primitive giraffes. This is in addition to primitive monkey teeth and animal fangs resembling a rhinoceros, and have a collection of turtle and crocodile bones dating back to the same age. The team said that these rock layers are actually distinctive and have no parallel except in Ghaba region, Dhakhliya Governorate, where fossils found there match with those in Eidm, although the geological time difference between them is relatively large.

Mammal fossils in Eidm as well as in Ghaba are of great scientific importance in understanding the migration of ancient mammals from Africa, in the south, to Europe and Asia, in the north. They have not yet been scientifically studied in details, yet. However, these samples constitute great materials to be exhibited in museums and for future research.