Update: Belgium Diplomats Destroy Priceless Whale Fossil

According to Yahoo News Egypt is accusing Belgium diplomats of damaging the whale fossil. There is an interesting twist to the story. Apparently the incident happened in July and is just now being reported. Belgium denies that the diplomats damaged the fossil, claiming the vehicles never left the road:

Mohamed Ibrahim, an official in the Ministry of Environment, said the diplomats in four-wheel-drive vehicles ran over the fossil in July after ignoring signs warning visitors not to drive in the Wadi el-Hitan, or Valley of the Whales, protected area and UNESCO World Heritage site located about 93 miles outside of Cairo.
The Belgian Foreign Ministry and its embassy in Cairo denied the vehicles caused any damage to the fossil. Foreign Ministry spokesman Marc Michielsen said the two diplomatic-plated all-terrain vehicles were in the area but “did not leave the road.”

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6 Responses

  1. This is an important site in the history of paleontology. It’s where Phil Gingerich’s team discovered 50-foot Basilosaurus fossils with tiny hind legs complete with toes. The discovery helped fill in the details about the transition from land to sea.

  2. Yup, the UNESCO site I linked to has an excellent discussion of all the fossils found and the sites importance to paleontology.

  3. BelgIAN, please. There’s a perfectly good adjective. (for some apparently less than good diplomats)

  4. You’ll find some pictures of the whale fossils here:
    http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/0,5538,24289,00.html

  5. Now we know where to send our hate email……………

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