x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Hunting history

The very soil beneath our feet holds as-yet unknown discoveries that will change how we view the past and how we view ourselves

The span of time over which the Earth has existed and life has thrived on this planet can be quite bewildering for our limited human brains. Mere tens of thousands of years separate very early humans from us - but the distances of time that separate us from dinosaurs number in the millions of years.

Because of that, it can sometimes be difficult to even imagine how different now-familiar landscapes once were. Take the fossils uncovered during the building of the national railway in the Western Region. Fossils of crocodiles and antelopes have been discovered, along with fish.

The finds suggest that the region was once lush savannah, with rivers and grassland, and all the plant and animal species that go along with it. The idea that, millions of years ago, there were crocodiles patrolling the rivers of the Arabian Peninsula, hunting the antelopes that passed by to drink, is an intriguing one.

Yet that vision of the past is because scientists went looking. And that's the really intriguing part. For all of our knowledge of maps and space, we have very little idea of what lies in the ground beneath our feet. Every time we delve into the ground, we discover things we could scarcely have imagined. The very soil beneath our feet holds as-yet unknown discoveries that will change how we view the past and how we view ourselves.