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Hakel Profile

Altitude: 670m
Distance from Beirut: 55km

Getting There

From Beirut, take the highway toward the north of Lebanon, Nahr El Kalb tunnel, Jounieh, Jbeil, head east towards Amshit, Hbaline, Obaidat, Hakel.


General Information

Perhaps the oldest continuously collected fossil locality, the area near the towns of Hakel and Hadjula, Lebanon is known for fossil fishes. The limestone rocks there preserve a wide variety of mid-Cretaceous fossils. The fishes are of particular interest because the age is right to capture early members of many of today's most common ocean fish groups, as well as many extinct groups.

Fishes are the oldest known of the animals which have backbones - the vertebrates. Recently they have been found in rocks from the Cambrian Period, dating some 500 million years old. Myriad forms have evolved and disappeared over the past 1/2 billion years, but thousands of varieties still exist in the seas, oceans, lakes and rivers. Even with the vast variety of fishes, most, living or extinct, can easily be classified on the basis of how much of the skeleton is bone, and the shapes of the bones.

Chondrichthyean fishes are those with skeletons comprised primarily of cartilage, with little real bone present. These are best typified by the sharks. Fossils readily identifiable as sharks are first known from mid-Paleozoic rocks. Many cartilaginous fish forms have appeared and disappeared, to be found only as fossils, but the basic 'shark' form has persisted nearly 400 million years.


The third layer of Lebanon limestone (about 3580 feet thick) is characterized at the base by abundant oyster beds or by hippurite limestone (Cenoman-Turon). One peculiarity is the slate of Hakel, containing fossil fishes.


Information From the Ministry of Tourism


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