From a horde of ancient sea monsters to gemstones from space worn by pharaohs, here are ten of the most amazing things hidden under the Sahara!
10: The P-40 Kittyhawk
Back in 1942, Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping crashed his P-40 Kittyhawk fighter plane into a remote part of the Sahara Desert. This happened on June 28, when the sergeant was flying his damaged fighter craft between two British airfields located in Egypt. But on his way, he experienced some kind of catastrophic failure and crashed. The fate of the pilot remained a mystery for 70 years, until the lost and forgotten fighter plane was finally discovered in the middle of some sand dunes.
9: A Lost Civilization
A pair of researchers have found traces of a lost civilization in the Sahara Desert, using remote sensing technology, satellite images, and drone flyovers. The lost culture of the Sahara is known as the Garamantes, and archaeologist David Mattingly believes that they started to build a network of cities and fortifications around the few remaining oases in the Libyan part of the Sahara Desert sometime around 1000 BC, or about 3000 years ago.
8: Nabta Playa
Nabta Playa is believed to be the first astronomical site on planet earth. It was constructed in the Sahara Desert about 7000 years ago, making it far older than Stonehenge. The huge stone circle was used by a surprisingly advanced culture to track the summer solstice and the annual monsoon season.
7: Giant Sea Creatures
New archaeological research has revealed that some of the largest and scariest sea creatures ever to populate the planet once thrived in what is today the Sahara Desert. Scientists have been examining fossil records for decades to try and figure out what kinds of animals lived in the ancient Trans-Saharan Seaway from between 100 million and 50 million years ago.
6: An Ancient Mega Lake
The Sahara Desert may be a barren wasteland today, but new geological evidence has revealed that there was once a giant lake in the eastern Sahara 250,000 years ago. This happened when the Nile River flowed through a channel and completely flooded an area of over 42,000 square miles.
5: Mysterious Impact Crater
A mysterious impact crater was found in the Sahara Desert, and scientists are linking it to a gemstone found in the tomb of the Egyptian king Tutankhamun. An international team of researchers analyzed satellite images of the vast and sandy terrain between two remote Egyptian villages in the desert. What they found was El Bahr Crater, a massive hole about 1000 feet across.
4: Stone Age Graveyard
The largest Stone Age graveyard ever found in the vast nothingness of the Sahara Desert is providing an incredible record of life from a time when the region was a green paradise. This graveyard has just been discovered in the country of Niger by Paul Sereno from National Geographic. His team went on an expedition to find dinosaur bones and instead found a Stone Age archaeological site dating back 10,000 years.
3: Three Ancient Rivers
Three ancient rivers once linked sub-Saharan Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. This was about 130,000 years ago, when three enormous rivers flowed across much of North Africa, providing a safe route of travel for ancient humans through what is today a merciless desert. The rivers were discovered after scientists simulated ancient rainfall patterns using newly advanced computer climate models.
2: The Whale Graveyard
Buried beneath the Sahara Desert are thousands of whale bones!! These whales date back 50 million years, when the Earth looked completely different!! The highest concentration of whale bones has been found in a place called Wadi al-Hitan, or the Valley of the Whales in English. The bones found here belong to ancestors of modern whales, with the first ones being discovered way back in 1902. These fascinating beasts roamed the ocean that once covered all of the Sahara Desert.
1: The Legendary Spinosaurus
By far the coolest and most amazing dinosaur fossil ever found hidden in the Sahara Desert was that of the Spinosaurus. Paleontologists working in the Moroccan part of Sahara Desert unearthed one of the biggest and most intact Spinosaurus fossils ever: the Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. This legendary monster was the first known aquatic dino.