We are pleased to present a highly important Dyrosaurus phosphaticus gharial crocodile skull displaying the reptiles attributes along with the original fossil teeth in original alveoli positions, in both the upper maxilla and lower mandible. very often during the fossilisation process the teeth are lost, damaged or severely weathered out of the jaws of vertebrates.
This large specimen (like our other fossil crocodile specimens) evokes the predatory nature of these vertebrates from the Cretaceous period. The remarkable preservation, the clenched grimace of the crocodiles smiling mandibles quite uniquely full of character belies the menace of the once fierce apex predator.
With very little malformation, which is a common feature of the material from this location, the superb and scientifically interesting crocodilian fossil skull evokes a fearsome image from its prehistorical past. The burlap jacket now wrapped around the fossil block when excavated in the field, which aids transportation from the fossil bed, also now keeps the fossil skull in a stable and safe environment. The specimen has been stabilised in the field when lifted from the bed, before transportation and again using bone tissue stabilisers in our Lab in the UK.
These large predatory crocodiles co-existed with the land dinosaurs like Spinosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus, among the tropical water margins of the warm Cretaceous land. North Africa, in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods part of Gondwana land broke up and Pangea formed, moved northward from its position in the southern hemispheres. In Africa, a tropical ecosystem developed. By the Cretaceous this warm tropical environment gave the clade of crocodylomorphs, the family of eusuchica, true crocodiles, an ideal environment in the lagoons and swamps to launch attacks on unsuspecting prey. The evolution of crocodilians equipped them with the skills to live through the dinosaurian extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period, up to the present day.
The Tethyan phosphate trend sprawls across North Africa and the Middle East and is mined in several countries. The Moroccan portion of the trend is presently the most exploited, producing about 19 million tonnes or 14% of the global supply [1980 figures], making this one of Morocco main industries. All mining is state-owned by the Office Cherifien des Phosphates [OCP]. In the plateaux of this region are three to five main outcrops of phosphate beds. Around the area of Kouribga city, the Oulad-Abdoun plateau has been mined since the 1920's. The Ganntour plateau to the south has been mined for many years. A new mine in the central area of this deposit at Ben Guerir was commissioned in 1981. Hence the recent discoveries since this date of numerous fossils.