Jebel Qatrani Formation

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Heinrich Harder's reconstruction of Arsinoitherium zitteli in the Oligocene grassland of Jebel Qatrani escarpment.

The Jebel Qatrani Formation is a palaeontological and geologic formation located in the Faiyum Governorate of central Egypt.

Conformably[verification needed] overlying the Qasr el Sagha Formation. It is exposed namely between the Jebel Qatrani escarpment and the Qasr el Sagha escarpment, north of Birket Qarun lake near Faiyum.


These rocks were laid down in the Eocene-Oligocene period (Priabonian - Rupelian)[verification needed]. This formation was some time placed entirely in the Oligocene, but recent opinion holds the original hypothesis of a sediment straddling the Eocene-Oligocene boundary to be correct.

Mostly sandstones deposited by meandering rivers and seasonal lakes, the lower (Eocene) part of the formation represents a woodlanded ecosystem of which lots of petrified wood also remain. In contrast, the upper (Oligocene) layers present indication of much drier and cooler conditions, with savanna replacing the woodland for several million years before the climate turned wetter and warmer again and the forests regrew.

The fauna changes also notably during this time, which seems to be coincident with the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event recorded in Eurasia.


Life restoration of prehistoric primate Aegyptopithecus zeuxis.
Reconstruction of Jebel Qatrani swamp forest at the end of the Eocene, with two Bothriogenys fraasi in front of an Arsinoitherium zitteli



Other animals[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Vickers-Rich, Patricia & Rich, Thomas Hewett (1993); Wildlife of Gondwana. Reed. ISBN 0-7301-0315-3