Baynunah Palaeontology Conference: 10 December 2014


The Baynunah Palaeontology conference takes place on Wednesday December 10th, 2014, at the Manarat Al Saadiyat Auditorium in Abu Dhabi. The conference runs from 9 am – 5 pm.  This programme is free; however, prior registration is required. Please call +971 2 657 5800 or email

The Baynunah Palaeontology project is a collaborative initiative between the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, USA. It is co-directed by Dr Mark Beech (TCA Abu Dhabi), Faysal Bibi (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin) and Andrew Hill (Yale), but involves many participants from different institutions in the USA, Europe and the Middle East. It follows on from earlier research projects by Andrew Hill and Peter Whybrow (1), by Faysal Bibi, and by the former Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).A large number of fossil sites of the Baynunah Formation have been discovered widely exposed over the Al Gharbia region of Abu Dhabi emirate. Most Baynunah sites have yielded fossilized bones showing a diversity of animals which lived in the Arabian Peninsula in the late Miocene Epoch, between 6 and 8 million years ago. The Baynunah rocks and fossils indicate that at this time, a river system came across the Arabian Peninsula through what is today the United Arab Emirates. The Baynunah Palaeontology conference is the first public event to be held by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority to bring the latest information about these fossil discoveries to a wider audience. We hope you enjoy the event and that you leave with a deeper appreciation for the ancient past of Abu Dhabi.

(1) Whybrow, P.J. and Hill, A. (eds.), 1999. Fossil Vertebrates of Arabia: with Emphasis on the Late Miocene Faunas, Geology, and Palaeoenvironments of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Wednesday 10 December 2014, 9 am – 5 pm.
Manarat Al Saadiyat Auditorium, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.

9:00 – 9:15: Introduction & Opening welcome address by Mohammed Amer Al Neyadi (Director, Historic Environment Department).

9:15 – 9:35: Faysal Bibi, Andrew Hill and Mark Beech, 7 Million Years ago in Abu Dhabi – 30 Years of Discovery, and What It All Means.

9:35 – 9:45: Q & A.

9:45 – 10:05: Mark Beech, Abdulla Khalfan Al Kaabi, Ahmed Abdalla El Faki & Anjana Reddy, Mapping the Baynunah Formation: the TCA fossil sites geodatabase.

10:05 – 10:15: Q & A.

10:15 – 10:35: Marilyn Fox, Collecting and Preparing Baynunah Fossils.

10:35 – 10:45: Q & A.

10:45 – 11:15: Coffee Break

11:15 – 11:35: Jean-Renaud Boisserie, The evolution of hippopotamuses and the significance of the fossil hippos from the Baynunah Formation, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

11:35 – 11:45: Q & A.

11:45 – 12:05: Brian Kraatz, New small mammals of the Baynunah Formation from the Al Gharbia Region, United Arab Emirates.

12:05 – 12:15: Q & A.

12:15 – 12:30: Dhuhr Prayer Time

12:30 – 13:30: Lunch Time

13:30 – 13:50: Ilaria Mazzini, Reconstructing environmental changes in the past: The contribution of micro-crustaceans.

13:50 – 14:00: Q & A.

14:00 – 14:20: Johannes Müller & Jason J. Head, Reptiles and Amphibians of Arabia, and their Fossil History.

14:20 – 14:30: Q & A.

14:30 – 14:50: William J. Sanders, Last gomphotheres and first elephants at the crossroads of evolution: Evidence from the Baynunah Formation.

14:50 – 15:00: Q & A.

15:00 – 15:30: Asr Prayer Time & Tea Break

15:30 – 15:50: John R. Stewart, The Arabian Wetlands of the Miocene: The Avian Evidence.

15:50 – 16:00: Q & A.

16:00 – 16:20: Kevin Uno, Straight from the horse’s mouth: Isotopic
evidence for seasonality in vegetation and hydroclimate in Abu Dhabi during the late Miocene.

16:20 – 16:30: Q & A.

16:30 – 17:00: Closing Discussion.