Natural history of Oman wows visitors to Salalah Tourism Fest

Kaushalendra Singh –
SALALAH, July 29 –
The visitors of Salalah Tourism Festival (STF) got a rare opportunity to witness exhibits depicting different aspects of natural history of Oman in the forms of fossils of trees, corals and animals. It also has exhibits of colourful butterflies and other organisms that live in the wilds of the Sultanate.
The exhibits have been brought from the Natural History Museum in Muscat and have been artistically displayed attracting huge interest from cross section of people. The five-day exhibition would conclude on Wednesday.
Most of the visitors, particularly children, were excited to know about the leopards and the fact that Dhofar still has traces of these rare cats. The exhibits prompted many visitors to learn about the Natural History Museum.
Sheikha bint Abdullah al Shukaili, Head of Conservation Department at the Natural History Museum, explained about the museum’s exhibits and said, “We have a nicely kept museum where the exhibits include traces of tree fossils found in Al Huquf dating back more than 260 million years.
There are remains of coral fossils dating back over 270 million years found in Wadi Assahtan in Rustaq.”
“There are remnants of jaw teeth belonging to a specific type of monkey, as well as the teeth of prehistoric animals dating back between 15 and 35 million years. The museum displays some aspects of the lives of the different types of reptiles, colourful butterflies, and other organisms that live in the wilds of the Sultanate, as well as the remains of trees and fossilised bones,” she said.
Al Shukaili said the participation of the Natural History Museum in Salalah Tourism Festival was representative with exhibits in five scientific categories including herbarium, insects, seashells, animal bones and fossils.
The total collections at the Natural History Museum in Muscat are 34,567. Among them herbarium are 13,203; insects 13,181; seashells 5,441; animal and bone collections 1,962 and fossils 580.
Giving details of the Natural History Museum, Al Shukaili said: “The museum was established on December 30, 1985. It stores richness of Oman’s biodiversity through nicely kept and beautifully displayed terrains, geology, plants and insects, marines and wild animals.”
Among the exhibits are mummified rare animals which were living in Oman. There are skeletons of sea creators, birds and reptiles, which lived in ancient Oman and died naturally.
The exhibits at the Natural History Museum, according to Al Shukaili, are hugely useful for school and college students and all those who are doing some research on Oman’s rich biodiversity.
“Of course it attracts lots of tourists every year,” she said.