10 Incredible Archaeological Discoveries Hidden Under The Sahara
While the Sahara may seem like a vast wasteland there is more than what meets the eye! From an enormous swimming dinosaur to a lost civilization that fought the Romans, here are 10 things found hidden under the sahara.
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10. First Swimming Dinosaur
At up to 50 feet (15.24 meters) long and weighing as much as seven tons (6.34 metric tons), Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, dwarfed the Tyrannosaurus rex. Known as one of the strangest dinosaurs ever discovered, it lived between 95 and 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, and possessed an extremely long tail resembling a paddle.
9. Ancient Cemetery
While hunting for dinosaur remains at a site called Gobero in Niger in 2000, a group of scientists led by University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno stumbled upon a large human graveyard possibly dating as far back as 10,000 years. It turned out to be the largest known Saharan cemetery, containing the remains of fish, crocodiles, and other creatures in addition to around 200 humans.
8. The Tamanrasset River
The Sahara desert is the largest hot desert in the world where only the toughest wildlife can survive! But it wasn’t always that way. Before the Sahara Desert was covered in nearly 3,630,000 square miles (9,400,000 km2) of sand, it was a humid, tropical region filled with lush vegetation and freshwater sources.
7. Libyan Desert Glass
For over 3000 years, fragments of canary yellow glass, known as Libyan Desert Glass, have been found between shifting sand dunes over a vast area of the Sahara Desert in western Egypt, near the Libyan border. The mysterious material was even incorporated into King Tut’s gilded and jewel-covered breastplate in the form of a scarab beetle that serves as a centerpiece.
6. Monster Croc
Dinosaurs weren’t the only animals that favored the marine habitats once offered by the Sahara. In 2016, scientists discovered evidence of the largest-ever sea-dwelling crocodile in modern-day Tunisia. Their findings, which appeared in 120-million-year-old rock, were published in the journal Cretaceous Research. Does anyone read this? Let me know in the comments below!
5. Nabta Stones
A series of stones known as the Nabta Playa Stone Circle, located in modern-day southern Egypt, marks an area that flooded seasonally thousands of years ago, forming a lake and attracting Neolithic nomadic tribes, who set up camp at the site.
4. Lake Mega Chad
A freshwater body called Lake Mega Chad once occupied a roughly 139,000 square mile (360,000 km2) area of the Sahara Desert in Central Africa, making it the largest freshwater lake on Earth at the time.
3. Lost Libyan Civilization
There’s more to the Sahara Desert’s hidden secrets than ancient bodies of water. Satellite photographs released in 2011 show over 100 fortresses or castles belonging to a so-called “lost” civilization that once inhabited southwestern Libya.
2. Valley Of The Whales
As you now know, the Sahara Desert contained vast bodies of water on-and-off throughout history. Included among these was the Tethys Ocean, which existed tens of millions of years ago. Then the ocean dried up and became the desert.
1. Prehistoric Megalake
In 2010, scientists discovered evidence of a prehistoric megalake that formed around 250,000 years ago and spanned a more-than 42,000 square mile (108,800 km2) area of the eastern Sahara Desert at its peak. Researchers made the find by analyzing radar data of Egypt and creating a profile of the ancient megalake using images of wind-blown sediments, sediments produced by running water, and bedrock beneath the sand.