A Rare complete archosaur tooth, exhibiting the crocodilian attributes of the top predator of the North African Cretaceous period. One carinae cutting edge still partly prominent. The apical crown tip has come away in the fossil bed and reaffixed itself with matrix in the fossil bed, this is evident as one face of the reseated tip being completely in line with the corresponding crown, on the opposite face this is not the case, crushing has occurred in the fossil bed and this is a rare event illustrated in this good tooth.
The crown and if fact the whole is solid and stable. The tooth has been cleaned and conserved post-excavation in a UK Lab by Mr A. Brady. Most of the enamel has the typical caramel brown colour and is intact, some enamel loss has taken place and in this area and the ivory colour dentin is seen. The extraordinary size and completeness of the root and crown is quite enlightening, when considering the whole jaw full of similar sized teeth, the modern Nile crocodile has between 64 to 68 teeth! Some bone loss is evident to the tooth root below the enamel line (please refer to the illustrations above), the cause of this is speculative, it could be from anomaly in the life of the archosaur, wear from a proceeding or other tooth in the jaw or by predation. The root is complete and fully attached, the morphology is excellent overall.
An apex collector tooth of the extinct apex marine predator, the stout strong teeth were the grasping and shredding end of the large ferocious reptilian water margin hunter which made the early crocodylomorpha such efficient predators of their domain, from the early beginnings of the Upper Cretaceous period, the line of crocodyloidea evolved.
The Kem Kem beds were previously known to palaeontological science as the Red Ironstone levels of the Continental Intercalaire. The region at the time of Elosuchus is thought to be a series of freshwater lagoons and a sea separating the austral continents of Gondwana and the terrestrial boreal masses of Laurasia, which is today an arid desert region of the northern Sahara ténéré or Tiniri (as the indigenous Berbers name it). During the Upper Cretaceous period, North Africa was a humid region crocodylomorpha lived in this delta along with other marine dwellers the early fishes, pterosaurs and semi-aquatic and land-living dinosaurs. These early crocodylomorpha preyed upon coelacanths and other early lungfish. We have representations in our catalogue of fossil fishes unearthed in the Kem Kem basin. This paints a picture of the life forms and environment of the region during the Cretaceous age.
As the ténéré rarely gives up its prehistoric treasures, here is an opportunity to gain a fossil crocodile element which is scientifically valuable as a study specimen. We have attributed this tooth to the genus Elosuchus cherifiensis through our research of the gharial or gavial crocodile found in this type region of the Ifezouane Formation, found in the Early to Lower Cenomanian stage some 99.7 to 94.3 million years ago. the strata or fossil layer of the Continental Intercalaire, now known to outcrop as part of the Kem Kem beds. An area of raised plateaux or hamada. The stratigraphic environment consists of conglomeratic clay-stones.
For more reference on Elosuchus cherifiensis: R. Lavocat. 1951. Découverte de restes d'un grand Dinosaurian sauropode dans le Crétacé du Sud marocain [Discovery of remains of a large sauropod dinosaur in the Cretaceous of southern Morocco]. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences à Paris 232:169-170 [M. Carrano/M. Carrano]
The fossil stores crocodilian fossils (like our other fossil crocodile specimens) unearth our superb, rare fossil occurrences.
Sarcosuchus an interesting note on a contemporary crocodilian of Cretaceous North Africa. Sarcosuchus imperator weighed as much as ten tons and measured as much as 40 feet (12 metres), in length. Other fossil genus of crocodiles have been discovered in this region, Stomatosuchus (Mouth crocodile), named by Ernst Stromer, famously the describer of the dinosaur Spinosaurus aegypticus (the infamous sailed back fish-eating dinosaur of the Jurassic Park and Jurassic world films and co-existing in the same geographical regions), Laganosuchus (Pancake crocodile) and Kaprosuchus (Boar crocodile), both described by Paul Sereno & Hans Larsson, later in the century, circa 2009.