Marja-Leena Rathje
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Whale Valley


Photograph by Richard Barnes

My copy of the August issue of the National Geographic magazine arrived yesterday. I always enjoy most of the articles they publish but as you know, my favourites are anything to do with rocks and archaeology and the related sciences. This time I was thrilled to see a fascinating article and many gorgeous photos of Wadi Hitan, the Valley of the Whales in Egypt and the whale bones found there. There are some surprising discoveries concerning the evolution of the whales. All this is available online so enjoy!

Some of you might remember my post of five years ago when I first learned about this remarkable place. You might also enjoy this story and photos by Jenny Bowker, a quilt artist who visited Wadi Hitan while living in Egypt.

Marja-Leena | 28/07/2010 | 9 comments
themes: Rock Art & Archaeology


We've not gotten our August number yet.

National Geographic is great especially for it's photojournalism. The text is often intended to lower level school kids, it's a bit tedious.

But the photography is great.

Ripsa, I think NG tries to appeal to a wide range of readers but I don't agree that it's that low a reading level as you suggest. Perhaps you are comparing HG to more scientific magazines.

Hattie, thanks for the great link to an interview of the author of Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier. (Readers: see my post about it). It really ties in with the whale bones and fossils found at Wadi Hitan.

That was fascinating. I particularly liked seeing the photograph of the 37million year old whale skeleton with the tiny leg bones still attached. The world really is amazing.

Susan, yes, it is amazing. As are the ways they can now date the bones and fossils to periods so very very long ago. I wish I could take a walk around those rocks in the photo above, like that figure.

I haven't opened mine yet. I'm looking forward to it now even more than usual.

Joe, let me know what you think!

Something about the eerie sharpness of this photo seem more like hyper-realist painting or some hybrid that simulates other-worldliness...what, I wonder, is the meaning of the tiny figure on the path. Are the whale bones from Jenny Bowker post around the corner.

Thanks for offering another mystery to consider.

Naomi, thanks for reading and wondering about this truly fascinating mystery!