Ouled Abdoun Basin

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Coordinates: 32°54′N6°57′W / 32.900°N 6.950°W / 32.900; -6.950

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The Oulad Abdoun and other major phosphate basins (in yellow) of Morocco Morocco phosphate basins.png
The Oulad Abdoun and other major phosphate basins (in yellow) of Morocco

The Oulad Abdoun Basin (also known as the Ouled Abdoun Basin or Khouribga Basin) is a phosphate sedimentary basin located in Morocco, near the city of Khouribga. It is the largest in Morocco, comprising 44% of Morocco's phosphate reserves, and at least 26.8 billion tons of phosphate. [1] [2] It is also known as an important site for vertebrate fossils, with deposits ranging from the Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Turonian) to the Eocene epoch (Ypresian), a period of about 25 million years. [3]

Geography

The Oulad Abdoun is located west of the Atlas Mountains, near the city of Khouribga. The Oulad Abdoun phosphate deposits encompass some 100 by 45 kilometres (62 by 28 mi), an area of 4,500 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi). [2] The Oulad Abdoun is the largest and northernmost of Morocco's major phosphate basins, which from northeast to southwest, include the Ganntour, Meskala, and Oued Eddahab (Laayoune-Baa) basins. [1] [2]

Paleobiota

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxonTaxon falsely reported as presentDubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.

The Oulad Abdoun Basin stretches from late Cretaceous to the Eocene, and contains abundant marine vertebrate fossils, including sharks, bony fish, turtles, crocodilians, and other reptiles, as well as sea birds and a small number of terrestrial mammals. [3] [4]

Bony fish

Bony fish from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Enchodus E. libycusMaastrichtianAn enchodontid aulopiform.
Enchodus Enchodus petrosus.jpg
Enchodus
E. bursauxiMaastrichtian
E. elegansMaastrichtian
Pycnodontidae IndeterminateMaastrichtian
Pseudoegertonia P. sp.Maastrichtian
Stephanodus S. libycusMaastrichtian
Stratodus S. apicalisMaastrichtianAn alepisauroform.
Stratodus Stratodus DB12.jpg
Stratodus

Sharks

Sharks from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Abdounia [5] A. africanaSelandianA requiem shark.
Casieria C. maghrebianaSelandian
Chiloscyllium C. salvani.SelandianA carpet shark.
Cretalamna C. appendiculataMaastrichtian
Cretalamna LACM 128126 - Dentiton.png
Cretalamna
C. maroccanaMaastrichtian
Delpitoscyllium D. africanumSelandian
Eostegostoma E. sp.SelandianA carpet shark.
Foumtizia F. abdouniSelandian
Galeorhinus G. mesetaensisSelandian
Ginglymostoma G. chenaneiSelandian
G. khouribgaenseSelandian
Hologinglymostoma H. jaegeriSelandian
Khouribgaleus K. gomphorhizaSelandian
Metlaouia M. delpitiSelandian
Microscyliorhinus M. simplexSelandian
Palaeogaleus P. laracheiSelandian
Palaeorhincodon P. daouiiSelandianA carpet shark.
Porodermoides P. spaniosSelandian
Premontreia P. peypouquetiSelandian
P. subulidensSelandian
Scyliorhinus S. ptychtusSelandian
S. entomodonSelandian
S. sulcidensSelandian
Serratolamna S. serrataMaastrichtian
Serratolamna teeth Cretoxyrhinidae - Serratolamns gasfana.JPG
Serratolamna teeth
S. khderiiMaastrichtian
Squalicorax S. pristodontusMaastrichtian
Squalicorax Squalicorax2DB.jpg
Squalicorax
S. bassaniiMaastrichtian
S. africanusMaastrichtian
S. microserratusMaastrichtian
S. benguerirensisMaastrichtian
Triakis T. antunesiSelandian

Other Cartilaginous Fish

Other Cartilaginous Fish from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Archaemanta A. priemiSelandianA ray.
Burnhamia B. cf. davisiSelandianA devil ray
Coupatezia C. lariveiSelandianA ray.
C. fallaxMaastrichtian
C. elevataMaastrichtian
Dasyatis D. ponsiSelandianA stringray.
Delpitia D. reticulataSelandianA ray.
Gymnura G. delpitiSelandianA ray.
Gymnura Gymnura micrura .jpg
Gymnura
Heterobatis H. talbaouiiSelandianA ray.
Heterotorpedo H. brahimiSelandianA ray.
Hypolophodon H. sp.SelandianA ray.
Rhombodus R. binkhorstiMaastrichtianA ray.
Rhombodus spines Rhombodontidae - Rhombodus meridionalis.JPG
Rhombodus spines
R. microdusMaastrichtian
R. meridionalisMaastrichtian
Schizorhiza S. stromeriMaastrichtianA sclerorhynchoid skate which resembled a sawfish.
Schizorhiza Schizorhiza restoration.png
Schizorhiza

Crocodylomorphs

Crocodylomorphs from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Arambourgisuchus [6] A. khouribgaensisThanetianA dyrosaurid.
Arambourgisuchus Arambourgisuchus.jpg
Arambourgisuchus
Atlantosuchus A. coupateziDanianA dyrosaurid.
Chenanisuchus C. lateroculiThanetianThe most basal known dyrosaurid.
Chenanisuchus Chenanisuchus BW.jpg
Chenanisuchus
Dyrosaurus P. maghribensisYpresianA dyrosaur.
Dyrosaurus Dyrosaurus mount.jpg
Dyrosaurus
Maroccosuchus [7] M. zennaroiYpresianA tomistomine crocodylian.
Ocepesuchus [8] O. eoafricanusMaastrichtianA gavialoid crocodylian.

Lepidosaurs

Lepidosaurs from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Mosasaurus [9] M. beaugeiMaastrichtianA large mosasaurine mosasaur.
Mosasaurus Mosasaurus 21copy.jpg
Mosasaurus
M. hoffmanniiMaastrichtianA large mosasaurine mosasaur.
Eremiasaurus E. heterodontusMaastrichtianA mosasaurine mosasaur with unusual cutting dentition.
Halisaurus H. arambourgiMaastrichtianA halisaurine mosasaur.
Halisaurus Halisaurus arambourgi.jpg
Halisaurus
Globidens G. phosphaticusMaastrichtianA mosasaurine mosasaur with specialized crushing teeth.
Globidens GlobidensDB2.jpg
Globidens
G. simplexMaastrichtian
G. aegyptiacusMaastrichtianNow referred to its own genus, Igdamanosaurus.
Igdamanosaurus I. aegyptiacusMaastrichtian
Carinodens C. minalmamarMaastrichtianA small mosasaurine mosasaur with crushing teeth.
Carinodens Carinodens belgicus 1.jpg
Carinodens
Platecarpus P. ptychodonMaastrichtianA nomen dubium. Now referred to its own genus, Gavialimimus.
Gavialimimus [10] G. almaghribensisMaastrichtianAn unusual longirostrine plioplatecarpine mosasaur.
Prognathodon P. curriiMaastrichtianA large mosasaurine mosasaur.
Prognathodon Prognathodon3.jpg
Prognathodon
P. giganteusMaastrichtian
Thalassotitan [11] T. atroxMaastrichtianA large-bodied mosasaurine with powerful jaws, similar to P. currii.
Thalassotitan Thalassotitan atrox skull.jpg
Thalassotitan
Pluridens [12] P. serpentisMaastrichtianA large halisaurine mosasaur, also known from Niger and Nigeria.
Pluridens Pluridens serpentis skull by Nick Longrich.jpg
Pluridens
Xenodens [13] X. calminechariMaastrichtianA small mosasaurine mosasaur with unusual, shark-like teeth.
Xenodens Xenodens calminechari holotype prepared by Nick Longrich.jpg
Xenodens
Pachyvaranus P. crassispondylusMaastrichtianA pachyvaranid
Palaeophis [14] P. maghrebianusYpresianA palaeophiid marine snake.
Palaeophis Palaeophiidae - Palaeophis maghrebianus.JPG
Palaeophis

Plesiosaurs

Plesiosaurs from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Zarafasaura Z. oceanisMaastrichtianAn elasmosaurid plesiosaur with an unusually short skull.
Zarafasaura Zarafasaura.jpg
Zarafasaura

Turtles

Turtles from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Alienochelys [15] A. selloumiMaastrichtianA sea turtle with crushing jaws.
Alienochelys Alienochelys skull.jpg
Alienochelys
Araiochelys [16] A. hirayamai
Argillochelys [17] A. africanaYpresianA pancheloniid sea turtle.
Argillochelys Sheppey turtles.jpg
Argillochelys
Bothremys [16] B. kellyiDanian-Thanetian
B. maghrebiana
Brachyopsemys B. tingitanaDanianA sandownid sea turtle
Euclastes E. wielandiDanian
Euclastes Euclastes sp.jpg
Euclastes
Labrostochelys [16] L. galkiniDanian
Ocepechelon [18] O. bouyaiMaastrichtianA giant protostegid sea turtle with an unusual pipette-like snout.
Ocepechelon Ocepechelon bouyai skull lat.png
Ocepechelon
Puppigerus P. camperiYpresian
Rhothonemys [16] R. brinkmaniDanian
Tasbacka T. ouledabdounensisDanian
Tasbacka Tasbacka danica.JPG
Tasbacka
Taphrosphys T. ippolitoiDanian
Ummulisani U. rutgersensisYpresian

Pterosaurs

Pterosaurs from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Alcione [19] A. elainusMaastrichtianA nyctosaurid which shows possible adaptations towards diving behaviour.
Alcione Alcione right humerus.PNG
Alcione
Barbaridactylus B. grandisMaastrichtianA nyctosaurid.
Simurghia S. robustaMaastrichtianA nyctosaurid related to Alcione.
Phosphatodraco P. mauritanicusMaastrichtianAn azhdarchid.
cf Arambourgiania A. sp?MaastrichtianA giant azhdarchid, may belong to the Jordanian taxon Arambourgiania.
Arambourgiania Arambourgiania philadelphiae.png
Arambourgiania
AzhdarchidaeIndet.MaastrichtianA new taxon, currently unnamed.
Tethydraco T. regalisMaastrichtianA pterosaur of debated affinity; may be an azhdarchid or a pteranodontid.
Tethydraco Tethydraco hindlimb elements.PNG
Tethydraco

Dinosaurs

Bird fossils are common in the Basin, which includes the oldest birds in Africa. [4] At least three orders and several families of sea birds are represented, including Procellariiformes (albatrosses and petrels, fossils assignable to Diomedeidae and Procellariidae), Pelecaniformes (pelicans and allies, fossils assignable to Phaethontidae, Prophaethontidae, Fregatidae and Pelagornithidae), and Anseriformes (waterfowl, including fossil Presbyornithidae). [4]

Dinosaurs from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Ajnabia [20] A. odysseusMaastrichtianA small lambeosaurine hadrosaur; the first known from Africa.
Ajnabia Size Chart Ajnabia Silhouette by Nick Longrich.jpg
Ajnabia Size Chart
Chenanisaurus [21] C. barbaricusMaastrichtianA large abelisaurid theropod.
Chenanisaurus Chenanisaurus barbaricus.jpg
Chenanisaurus
Titanosauria Indet.MaastrichtianA new taxon, currently unnamed.
Dasornis D. tolapicaSelandianA pelagornithid, or pseudotooth bird.
Dasornis Dasornis emuinus 1.jpg
Dasornis
D. emuinusYpresian
Lithoptila [22] L. abdounensisThanetianA seabird related to modern tropicbirds.

Mammals

Mammals from the Khouribga Phosphates
GenusSpeciesLocationTimeMaterialNotesImages
Abdounodus [23] A. hamdiiThanetian-Ypresian
Daouitherium [24] D. rebouliYpresianAn early proboscidean.
Eritherium [25] E. azzouzorumThanetianAn early proboscidean.
Ocepeia [23] O. daouiensisSelandian
Ocepeia Ocepeia head restoration PLoS ONE.png
Ocepeia
O. grandisThanetian
Phosphatherium P. escuillieiSelandianAn early proboscidean.
Boualitomus B. marocanensisSelandianA hyaenodont.
Lahimia [26] L. selloumiSelandianA hyaenodont.
Stylolophus [27] S. minorYpresianAn embrithopod.
S. majorYpresian

See also

Related Research Articles

Halisaurinae Extinct subfamily of lizards

The Halisaurinae are a subfamily of mosasaurs, a group of Late Cretaceous marine lizards. They were small to medium-sized, ranging from just under 3 meters in Eonatator sternbergi to as much as 8 or 9 meters in Pluridens serpentis. They tended to have relatively slender jaws and small, numerous teeth, suggesting a diet of small fish and other prey. Although the skeleton is primitive compared to other Mosasauridae in many respects, halisaurines had the distinctive hypocercal tail of other mosasaurids suggesting good swimming ability, and they persisted alongside other mosasaurs until the end of the Cretaceous. The earliest known remains of halisaurines occur in rocks of Santonian age and the subfamily persists until the latest Maastrichtian. Halisaurines are known from North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa, indicating a more or less global distribution in the Late Cretaceous. Four genera are currently recognized: Eonatator, Halisaurus, Phosphorosaurus and Pluridens.

Numidotheriidae is an extinct family of primitive proboscidean that lived from the late Paleocene to the early Oligocene periods of North Africa.

<i>Daouitherium</i> Extinct genus of mammals

Daouitherium is an extinct genus of early proboscideans that lived during the early Eocene some 55 million years ago in North Africa.

<i>Phosphatherium</i> Extinct genus of mammals

Phosphatherium escuillei is a basal proboscidean that lived from the Late Paleocene to the early stages of the Ypresian age until the early Thanetian some 56 million years ago in North Africa. Research has suggested that Phosphatherium existed during the Eocene period.

<i>Phosphatodraco</i> Genus of azhdarchid pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous

Phosphatodraco is a genus of azhdarchid pterosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous of what is now Morocco. In 2000, a pterosaur specimen consisting of five cervical (neck) vertebrae were discovered in the Ouled Abdoun Phosphatic Basin, where phosphate is quarried. The specimen was made the holotype of the new genus and species Phosphatodraco mauritanicus in 2003; the genus name means "dragon from the phosphates", and the specific name refers to the region of Mauretania, Latin for North Africa. Phosphatodraco was the first Late Cretaceous pterosaur known from North Africa, and the second pterosaur genus described from Morocco. It was one of the only known azhdarchids preserving a relatively complete neck, and was one of the last known pterosaurs. Additional cervical vertebrae have since been assigned to the genus, and it has been suggested that fossils of the pterosaur Tethydraco represent wing-elements of Phosphatodraco.

<i>Pluridens</i> Extinct genus of lizards

Pluridens is an extinct genus of marine lizard belonging to the Mosasauridae. Pluridens is placed in the subfamily Halisaurinae with the genera Phosphorosaurus, Eonatator and Halisaurus. Compared to related halisaurines, Pluridens had longer jaws with more teeth, and smaller eyes. It also grew large size, perhaps 8 or 9 meters in some individuals. The jaws in some specimens are robust, and sometimes show injuries suggestive of combat. The jaws may have been used for fighting over mates or territories.

Ocepesuchus is an extinct genus of gavialoid crocodilian, related to modern gharials. It lived in the Late Cretaceous of Morocco. Described by Jouve and colleagues in 2008, the type species is O. eoafricanus, with the specific name meaning "dawn African" in reference to its great age relative to other African crocodilians. Ocepesuchus had a long snout with a tubular shape, wider than high. It is the oldest known true crocodilian from Africa.

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<i>Zarafasaura</i> Extinct genus of reptiles

Zarafasaura is an extinct genus of elasmosaurid known from the Oulad Abdoun Basin of Morocco.

<i>Phosphorosaurus</i> Extinct genus of lizards

Phosphorosaurus is an extinct genus of marine lizard belonging to the mosasaur family. Phosphorosaurus is classified within the Halisaurinae subfamily alongside the genera Pluridens, Eonatator and Halisaurus.

<i>Ocepechelon</i> Extinct genus of turtles

Ocepechelon is an extinct genus of giant protostegid sea turtle known from Late Cretaceous phosphatic deposits of the Oulad Abdoun Basin, Khouribga Province of Morocco. It is known from the holotype OCP DEK/GE 516, a complete but isolated 70-cm-long skull, making it one of the largest marine turtles ever described. It was first named by Nathalie Bardet, Nour-Eddine Jalil, France de Lapparent de Broin, Damien Germain, Olivier Lambert and Mbarek Amaghzaz in 2013 and the type species is Ocepechelon bouyai. The feeding apparatus of Ocepechelon, a bony pipette-like snout, is unique among tetrapods and shares unique convergences with both syngnathid fishes and beaked whales.

<i>Ocepeia</i> Extinct Afrotherian mammal

Ocepeia is an extinct genus of afrotherian mammal that lived in present-day Morocco during the middle Paleocene epoch, approximately 60 million years ago. First named and described in 2001, the type species is O. daouiensis from the Selandian stage of Morocco's Ouled Abdoun Basin. A second, larger species, O. grandis, is known from the Thanetian, a slightly younger stage in the same area. In life, the two species are estimated to have weighed about 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) and 10 kg (22 lb), respectively, and are believed to have been specialized leaf-eaters. The fossil skulls of Ocepeia are the oldest known afrotherian skulls, and the best-known of any Paleocene mammal in Africa.

<i>Abdounodus</i> Extinct genus of mammal

Abdounodus is an extinct genus of mammal known from the middle Paleocene of northern Africa. The sole species, A. hamdii, is known from teeth discovered in the Ouled Abdoun Basin of present-day Morocco in 2001. Traditionally considered a mioclaenid "condylarth", recent studies place it as a basal afrothere closely related to Ocepeia, demonstrating the close convergent evolution between perissodactyls and herbivorous afrotheres and bridging paenungulates with other afrotheres.

<i>Chenanisaurus</i> Extinct genus of dinosaurs

Chenanisaurus is a genus of predatory abelisaurid dinosaur, with a single known species C. barbaricus. It comes from the upper Maastrichtian phosphates of the Ouled Abdoun Basin in Morocco, North Africa. The animal is known from a holotype, consisting of a partial jaw bone, and several isolated teeth found in the same beds. Chenanisaurus is one of the largest members of the Abelisauridae, and one of the last, being a contemporary of the North American Tyrannosaurus. It would have been among the dinosaur species wiped out by the Chicxulub asteroid impact and the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction that followed.

<i>Tethydraco</i> Genus of ornithocheiroid pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous

Tethydraco is a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period of what is now the area of present Morocco, about 66 million years ago. Tethydraco was originally assigned to the family Pteranodontidae. Subsequently described material suggested that it was an azhdarchid, and possibly synonymous with Phosphatodraco. The type and only species is T. regalis.

<i>Simurghia</i> Genus of nyctosaurid pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous

Simurghia is a genus nyctosaurid pterosaur from the Ouled Abdoun Basin of Morocco, a basin that dates to the Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago. It was published in 2018 by paleontologists Nicholas R. Longrich, David M. Martill, and Brian Andres, along with two other nyctosaurids from the same basin: Alcione and Barbaridactylus. The type and only species is S. robusta.

<i>Ajnabia</i> Extinct genus of reptiles

Ajnabia is a genus of lambeosaurine hadrosaur from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of Morocco. It is the first definitive hadrosaur from Africa, and is thought to be related to European dinosaurs like Arenysaurus. The discovery of Ajnabia came as a surprise to the paleontologists who found it, because Africa was isolated by water from the rest of the world during the Cretaceous, such that hadrosaurs were assumed to have been unable to reach the continent. The animal is relatively small; assuming it represents an adult it would be one of the smallest if not the smallest known hadrosaurids.

<i>Xenodens</i> Extinct genus of lizards

Xenodens is an extinct genus of marine lizard belonging to the mosasaur family. It currently contains a single species, X. calminechari, which is known from Late Maastrichtian phosphate deposits in the Ouled Abdoun Basin, Morocco. Its closest known relative is believed to be the durophagous Carinodens.

<i>Thalassotitan</i>

Thalassotitan is an extinct genus of mosasaur that lived in Morocco during the late Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous period, around 66 million years ago. The mosasaur's remains were found in the Ouled Abdoun Basin, where many other mosasaurs have been found. This mosasaur was described in 2022 and was assigned to the tribe Prognathodontini alongside other mosasaurs like Prognathodon. The prognathodontine mosasaurs are separated from other mosasaurs based on their massive jaws and robust teeth. This genus shows definitely that mosasaurs evolved to take over the apex predator niche in the oceans of the late Cretaceous which is now filled by sharks and orcas. Heavy wear on its teeth and fossils found in the vicinity of the holotype etched by acid wear from partial digestion suggest this mosasaur had a diet consisting of smaller mosasaur species, plesiosaurs, large predatory fish, and sea turtles.

References

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