The Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) has added full details on the six million-year-old fossils found in the emirate's Western Region to its website.

Dating back to the Late Miocene period, the fossils were discovered during the late 1980s and early 1990s by the Abu Dhabi Miocene Project, a joint research study directed by Peter J. Whybrow (Natural History Museum, London) and Andrew Hill (Yale University, U.S.). Support for the research was provided by the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO).

The majority of the fossils collected by the Natural History Museum-Yale University team came from Baynunah Formation outcrops located between the coast and the road from Al Sila'a to Abu Dhabi.

They include fossil bones of early ancestors of the elephant, hippopotamus, horse, crocodile and other animals.

They indicate that at the time, the area, what is now Abu Dhabi's Western Region, was a lush savannah type landscape with wide and slow-moving rivers, somewhat like East Africa today.

In association with the Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA), ADIAS has now been assigned to study and protect fossil sites in the coastal zone.

During a meeting in London last month between Peter Whybrow and ADIAS representatives, it was agreed that a full database on the fossils would be added to the ADIAS website. Access to the new material can be gained through the following address: ( /fossils).

Dr Mark Beech, a field archaeologist and Webmaster of ADIAS, said: "We would like to thank Peter Whybrow and his team for providing such an excellent and informative guide to the Miocene fossils of Abu Dhabi. "This information supplements our expanding web presence as one of the major providers of information concerning the archaeology and palaeontology of the region."

A full scientific account of the geology and palaeontology of the Miocene period in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi was published by Yale University Press in 1999 titled Fossil Vertebrates of Arabia, edited by Peter J. Whybrow and Andrew Hill.

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