The fossilised dinosaur claw tissues exhibit an as found condition, which includes fine blood vessels and nerve grooves over the surface of the claw. Excavators use certain methods to strengthen and reinforce all varieties of fossil dinosaur bones to aid the fragile bones removal and transportation to the laboratories of Europe. The rare dinosaur fossil claw now conserved enabling a good presentation view for study, the distal point having some erosion damage in the bedding plane (see our images above), otherwise the claw displaying good preserved morphology, particularly the blood vessels posteriorly.
The curvature of the claw evokes a sense of speed and ferocity, the Spinosaurid was we now know the largest bipedal theropod hunter of its age, a ferocious hunter among the semi aqautic landscape of what is modern day Morocco. Spinosaurids range spans from the west to the eastern most parts of North Africa. The story of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus's discovery is as intriguing as the dinosaur itself. Discovered by fossil collector Richard Markgraf in Egypt at the site of El-Bahariya during 1912 in Upper Cretaceous rocks, believed to date to the Cenomanian age around 100 to 93.9 million years ago. Described by the eminent German palaeontologist Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Reichenbachinin in 1915 as world war raged in Europe. Thence housed in the museum of Paläontologische Staasssammlung in Munich up until being destroyed in the second world war by the allied bombers in April 1944. Even though Stromer pleaded to have his precious bones removed to a safe haven. The story of Spinosaurus is as rich as a hollywood script.
Due to the loss of stromer's partial skeleton, Spinosaurus took a back seat in the Saurischian Dinosaur story until recently with the rediscovery of partial skeletons in Africa. Paul Sereno of the museum of Chicago and his team have made great advances in understanding the remains, with the aid of Stromer's original drawings and accumulated knowledge. Almost 100 years after Stromer identified Spinosaurus, a replica skeleton was unveiled in New York in 2016, to the delight of the media, the largest skeleton of any bipedal carnivore took centre stage. We now understand so much more about Spinosaurus, it had a semi aquatic lifestyle seeking out large shark type Pristis sawfish, the sawfish had many razor piercing rostral teeth, set in long rostrums. These rostrums were similar to modern day narrow snouted sawfish. Spinosaurus at over 50 feet long would hunt Pristis shark like fish, which grew to over 20 feet long. The fish eating dinosaur would bite down, while using its tremendously powerful feet and hand claws to grapple, slash and rip the fish apart.
Discovering fossils of this quality is a very rare occurence and a very exacting and time consuming process, which requires good local knowledge of the terrain of the desert and considerable technical skill when excavating, if not carried out in a proper fashion fossil can often be badly damaged or completely destroyed.
Collected in the continental red fossil formation, Continental intercalaire, at Tegana formation, the province of de Kasr-es-Souk, Kem Kem. The fossil beds are situated in the Moroccan western desert, this area is the northern Sahara of Africa. The Hamada, a raised plateau, is a distinct topographical feature of this region. Here recently the localised political situation has changed, the fossil beds have become overworked, re-worked and the fear is they will become extinguished. Coupled with political and military unrest in the region makes collecting extremely fraught. Less material of a high standard of preservation is being discovered. The Military of both states are active in the region, which is in dispute politically and areas of once accessible Sahara are now impassable. Along with their once productive fossil beds. Older tailings are being re-excavated in the hope better material will be found. These processes are currently making the best fossils more desirable and more valuable.