National Geographic : 1989 Nov
NTIONAL GEOGRAPHIMAGAlZINE GEOGRAPHIIII Oldest Geologic Map, Fit for a Pharaoh e was Amennakhte, a scribe during the reign of the great Egyptian pharaoh Ramses IV. Scrolls portray Amennakhte as curi ous, broad-minded, and energetic. Two University of Toledo, Ohio, geol ogists think that in the year 1150 B.c . he created a geologic map that, says one, "fits so beautifully with reality, it's shocking." It is the oldest known sur viving geologic map. The map, a papyrus scroll 16 inches wide and at least six feet long (some interior segments and one end are miss ing), was found in the early 1820s in the ruins of Deir el-Medina near Egypt's Valley of the Kings. It has been in the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, and has been long known to Egyptologists. No trained geologist had ever com pared the map with the real world until DON KINCAID GIACOMOLOVERA James A. Harrell and V. Max Brown took a copy of the map when they went to the Eastern Desert of Egypt to study geologic features. They discovered that many different kinds of rock formations found in Wadi Hammamat today correspond to features shown on the ancient map, in location, in shape, even in color. Ramses IV's expeditions repeatedly visited the area's quarries to obtain stone for sculptures in temples and, according to the text on the map, the pharaoh's tomb. Whoever created the map was ahead of his time: The next oldest known geo logic maps date from the 1740s. Cleaning Up the Coastlines or statistics fanatics, the Florida coast cleanup is a delight. For birds and other animals that depend on clean water, it is a matter of life and death. Sponsored by the Center for Marine Conservation, a Washington, D. C. based group, the April 8 cleanup effort was the second in seven months. It en listed 12,041 volunteers who picked up 307 tons of litter from 966 miles of Flor ida ocean, gulf, and river shorelines. An especially large amount of trash came from the Florida Keys-the re sult, organizers say, of refuse from tourists and garbage dumped from cruise ships and merchant vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. More than 60 percent of the debris consisted of plastics, including 234 miles of monofilament fishing line, in which turtles, fish, and birds can all too easily become entangled. The volun teers also found the remains of 12 sea turtles, three porpoises, and more than a hundred birds. Governor Bob Martinez has backed efforts to keep Florida's shorelines clean. "Treat our resources exactly as they are -precious and irreplaceable," he said in an executive order. The Florida cleanup is one of many such statewide efforts. Volunteers throughout the nation will be out cleaning beaches on September 23. The Outlook Brightens for India's Monkeys ere's evidence that an alarming decline in an animal species can be arrested and reversed: Charles H. Southwick of the Universi ty of Colorado and M. Farooq Siddiqi of Aligarh Muslim University have been studying India's rhesus monkeys since 1959, when the population was thought to be in the five-to-ten-million range. Thousands were exported each year for biomedical and pharmaceuti cal purposes. Deforestation was de stroying monkey habitat, and many Indians viewed the animals as pests that consumed their crops. CHARLESH. SOUTHWICK Southwick and Siddiqi found that the monkeys actually numbered only about two million, with a serious short age of young animals. Year by year the total population declined, reaching a low of about 180,000 in the late 1970s. But then monkey exports were banned, conservation-education pro grams were begun, and economic con ditions improved so that local residents no longer had to destroy forests to pro vide land to grow crops. The monkey population began to rise; there now are an estimated 410,000 to 460,000-"a remarkable recovery" says Southwick, a member of the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. "Ten years ago I would have projected a continued decline. I was wrong, and I hope this new trend can be sustained."