Ouled Abdoun Basin

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


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]


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]


Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxonTaxon falsely reported as presentDubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
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
Enchodus E. libycusMaastrichtianAn enchodontid aulopiform.
Enchodus Enchodus petrosus.jpg
E. bursauxiMaastrichtian
E. elegansMaastrichtian
Pycnodontidae IndeterminateMaastrichtian
Pseudoegertonia P. sp.Maastrichtian
Stephanodus S. libycusMaastrichtian
Stratodus S. apicalisMaastrichtianAn alepisauroform.
Stratodus Stratodus DB12.jpg


Sharks from the Khouribga Phosphates
Abdounia [5] A. africanaSelandianA requiem shark.
Casieria C. maghrebianaSelandian
Chiloscyllium C. salvani.SelandianA carpet shark.
Cretalamna C. appendiculataMaastrichtian
Cretalamna LACM 128126 - Dentiton.png
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
S. bassaniiMaastrichtian
S. africanusMaastrichtian
S. microserratusMaastrichtian
S. benguerirensisMaastrichtian
Triakis T. antunesiSelandian

Other Cartilaginous Fish

Other Cartilaginous Fish from the Khouribga Phosphates
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
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


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


Lepidosaurs from the Khouribga Phosphates
Mosasaurus [9] M. beaugeiMaastrichtianA large mosasaurine mosasaur.
Mosasaurus Mosasaurus 21copy.jpg
M. hoffmanniiMaastrichtianA large mosasaurine mosasaur.
Eremiasaurus E. heterodontusMaastrichtianA mosasaurine mosasaur with unusual cutting dentition.
Halisaurus H. arambourgiMaastrichtianA halisaurine mosasaur.
Halisaurus Halisaurus arambourgi.jpg
Globidens G. phosphaticusMaastrichtianA mosasaurine mosasaur with specialized crushing teeth.
Globidens GlobidensDB2.jpg
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
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
P. giganteusMaastrichtian
Thalassotitan [11] T. atroxMaastrichtianA large-bodied mosasaurine with powerful jaws, similar to P. currii.
Thalassotitan Thalassotitan atrox skull.jpg
Pluridens [12] P. serpentisMaastrichtianA large halisaurine mosasaur, also known from Niger and Nigeria.
Pluridens Pluridens serpentis skull by Nick Longrich.jpg
Xenodens [13] X. calminechariMaastrichtianA small mosasaurine mosasaur with unusual, shark-like teeth.
Xenodens Xenodens calminechari holotype prepared by Nick Longrich.jpg
Pachyvaranus P. crassispondylusMaastrichtianA pachyvaranid
Palaeophis [14] P. maghrebianusYpresianA palaeophiid marine snake.
Palaeophis Palaeophiidae - Palaeophis maghrebianus.JPG


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


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


Pterosaurs from the Khouribga Phosphates
Alcione [19] A. elainusMaastrichtianA nyctosaurid which shows possible adaptations towards diving behaviour.
Alcione Alcione right humerus.PNG
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
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


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
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
Titanosauria Indet.MaastrichtianA new taxon, currently unnamed.
Dasornis D. tolapicaSelandianA pelagornithid, or pseudotooth bird.
Dasornis Dasornis emuinus 1.jpg
D. emuinusYpresian
Lithoptila [22] L. abdounensisThanetianA seabird related to modern tropicbirds.


Mammals from the Khouribga Phosphates
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
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

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

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<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.

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

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

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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.


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