Abu Dhabi A recent study, published in the World Journal for Biological Research yesterday, has pointed out the presence of seven million-year-old elephant footprints in the Arabian desert.

The study's findings represents the oldest known proof regarding the way the ancestors of modern elephants interacted with the environment.

The study — prepared by a team of scientists from the UAE, the US, France, and Germany — revealed that an area named Mlesa-1 in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi had long lanes of footprints of elephant herds which included no less than 13 elephants at a time.

The study also found that the herds walked on mud, leaving behind footprints which got buried as a result of erosion and corrosion.

Analysis of the size of the footprints also indicated the existence of elephants, in a variety of sizes, reaffirming the social structure of these animals in pre-historic times.

Archeological scientists from all around the world said in the joint study published in the bi-monthly journal that the Mlesa-1 fossil passage in Baynouna is one of the biggest known passages in the world, covering an area of five hectares.

Longest passage

This isolated passage is also considered the longest connected passage discovered until now.

The research also says that the passage is unique in the world and is a rare opportunity to see the behaviour of animals in a way that cannot be revealed through their bones or teeth.

The location is protected by a fence and is under the responsibility of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority's Historical Environment Department.