The region was not always a desert. During the prehistoric Carboniferous period it was a sea floor and later a tropical forest. A major dinosaur cemetery lies at its western edge; many fossils have been found there, having eroded out from the ground. An almost complete specimen of the crocodile-like reptile Sarcosuchus imperator, nicknamed the SuperCroc, was discovered there by paleontologists. During early human history, it was a fertile land much more congenial to human life than it is now. The region was inhabited by modern humans as long ago as the Paleolithic period some 60,000 years ago. They hunted wild animals and left evidence of their presence in the form of stone tools. During the Neolithic period about 10,000 years ago, ancient hunters created rock engravings and paintings that can still be found across the region. The human population dwindled as the Sahara dried out, and by 2500 BC it had largely become as dry as it is today.
The Ténéré is very sparsely populated. The modern inhabitants of the Ténéré are largely Tuareg of Ayr and Azawagh. Three Tuareg federations, Kel Ayr, Iwillimidan Kel Denneg and Kel Gres ruled the area until the arrival of the French colonial army, which occupied the land. Other ethnic groups dwelling in the Ténéré are the Hausa, Songhay, Wodaabe, the Moors, and Tebu.
The desert is also known for the celebrated Tree of Ténéré, once the most remote in the world. The tree was knocked down by an allegedly drunk Libyan truck driver in 1973, despite being the only tree for several hundred kilometres. It was replaced by a metal sculpture. Despite this unfortunate mishap, the tree is still often indicated on maps of the region as a notable landmark.credited to wikipedia and flickr users: nygus, ianna, yelema, mike in croydon, willemstom