Thousands of years ago, the Sahara was surprisingly green with rich vegetation, trees and lakes that covered almost all of what is now sandy desert. There were vast open grasslands, forests, rivers, lakes and wetlands, that allowed a variety of animal species to survive. Antelopes, gazelles, giraffes, elephants, wildebeest, spotted hyenas, zebras and more roamed the savannah, while crocodiles baked in the river banks and hippos rolled in the mud. Evidence of the Sahara’s amiable past is recorded in the rocks—in the form of fossils, and petroglyphs and rock paintings by humans who lived during this period. One well-known such petroglyph location is the Cave of Swimmers in the remote Gilf Kebir mountains in southwest Egypt near the Libyan border.
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Do these petroglyphs in the Sahara depict people swimming? Photo: Roland Unger/Wikimedia Commons