Egypt unveils rare whale fossil museum to boost tourism

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Whale fossil museum in Egypt
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Egypt unveils rare whale fossil museum to boost tourism
The largest intact Basulosaurus isis whale fossil, which is on display at the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, on the opening day, in the Fayoum oasis, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks. (AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
Fossilized whale bones are on display outside the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, a UNESCO natural World Heritage site, on the opening day, in the Fayoum oasis, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks.(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
Fossilized whale bones are on display outside the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, a UNESCO natural World Heritage site, on the opening day, in the Fayoum oasis, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks.(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
Guards stand outside the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, a UNESCO natural World Heritage site, on the opening day, in the oasis of Fayoum, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks. (AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
The largest intact Basulosaurus isis whale fossil, which is on display at the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, on the opening day, in the Fayoum oasis, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks.(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
A visitor views the largest intact Basulosaurus isis whale fossil, which is on display at the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, on the opening day, in the Fayoum oasis, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks.(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
Fossilized whale bones are on display outside the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, a UNESCO natural World Heritage site, on the opening day, in the Fayoum oasis, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks.(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
Workers prepare the red carpet for VIP guests outside the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, a UNESCO natural World Heritage site, on the opening day, in the Fayoum oasis, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks.(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
Egyptian Army vehicles stand outside the Wati El Hitan Fossils and Climate Change Museum, a UNESCO natural World Heritage site, on the opening day, in the Fayoum oasis, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Egypt has cut the ribbon on the Middle Eastâs first fossil museum housing the world's largest intact skeleton of a "walking whale" in an attempt to attract much-needed tourists driven off by recent militant attacks.(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell)
A picture taken on January 14, 2015 shows a marine organism at the Wadi el-Haitan Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum, 60 km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 14, 2015 shows a marine organism at the Wadi el-Haitan Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum, 60 km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 14, 2015 shows a marine organism at the Wadi el-Haitan Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum, 60 km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 14, 2015 shows a whale's skeleton at the Wadi el-Haitan Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum, 60 km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 14, 2015 shows a marine organism at the Wadi el-Haitan Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum, 60 km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 14, 2015 shows a Basilosaurus whale skeleton at the Wadi el-Haitan Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum, 60 km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 14, 2015 shows a whale skeleton at the Wadi el-Haitan Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum, 60 km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on January 14, 2015 shows a whale skeleton at the Wadi el-Haitan Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum, 60 km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. / AFP / KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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VALLEY OF THE WHALES, Egypt (AP) — Egypt has unveiled what it says is the Middle East's first museum dedicated to fossils and showcasing an early form of whales, now extinct and known as the "walking whale."

The museum opened Thursday near the Fayoum Oasis south of the capital, Cairo. It's the latest effort by the authorities to attract much-needed tourists, driven away by recent militant attacks.

The centerpiece of the Fossils and Climate Change Museum, is an intact, 37-million-year-old and 20-meter-long skeleton of a legged form of whale that shows how modern-day whales evolved from land mammals.

Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy says the paleontological display will attract a different kind of tourist from those who come for the beaches and pharaonic antiquities.


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