Identifying North African (Moroccan) mosasaur teeth

George Corneille (Ireland) I have been a collector of marine reptile and dinosaur fossils for many years and started to sell on a small scale a few years ago. This editorial is specifically to help collectors identify teeth that they may have in their collections and to better understand these giant ocean going reptiles that dominated the oceans from the middle to late Cretaceous. Many mosasaur species have been identified by isolated teeth. This is extremely difficult, because, ideally, to describe a new taxon, you need skull elements, jaw hinges, flipper digits and so on. This fossil material is of course not easily available for the most part and we have to rely on isolated teeth. However, both French palaeontologist, Camille Arambourg, and Belgian palaeontologist, Louis Dollo, have relied on isolated teeth to identify a new taxon. The first mosasaur was discovered in Holland in 1780 by Dr Johann Leonard Hoffman. Since that time, at least another 40 species have been identified worldwide from Sweden to Africa and Israel to New Zealand as well as the USA, especially in Kansas. Mosasaurs dominated the world’s oceans at the end of the Cretaceous. Here, we concentrate on the Moroccan species, specifically from the Oulad Abdoun Basin and Sidi Daoui in the Moroccan Sahara. There are currently six identified species of mosasaur from the marine deposits in Morocco. Arambourg (1952) was the last comprehensive study of marine fossils. In Mosasaurus beaugei (Arambourg 1952), the tooth crowns are described as robust with both carinae … Read More

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