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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

The sands of time

The Western Region is the perfect place to build a museum to showcase natural history
The UAE needs a new natural history museum to showcase the past life of the Western Region. (Mark Beech)
The UAE needs a new natural history museum to showcase the past life of the Western Region. (Mark Beech)

Elephants and giraffe once wandered the savannah-like landscape that is now just sand dunes and barren salt flats in the far west of Abu Dhabi emirate. That was an awfully long time ago – seven million years, to be precise – and the vanished flora and fauna of Al Gharbia may seem like so much pointless trivia.

But as The National reported yesterday, scientists at the Baynunah Palaeontology Conference are excited about the fossil records because they establish the way species migrated from Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and on to Europe and Asia. Locals and tourists alike ought to find that of interest, especially if there is a dedicated museum to explain the significance and bring the past to life.

Saadiyat Island will eventually be home to three world-class museums, beginning with the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Al Ain has a natural-history museum. Isn’t it time the Western Region also gained a museum to match its rich natural heritage?