Nizar Ibrahim , 1 , Paul C. Sereno , 2 , David J. Varricchio 3 , David M. Martill 4 , Didier B. Dutheil 5 , David M. Unwin 6 , Lahssen Baidder 7 , Hans C.E. Larsson 8 , Samir Zouhri 9 , Abdelhadi Kaoukaya 7
21 April 2020
The geological and paleoenvironmental setting and the vertebrate taxonomy of the fossiliferous, Cenomanian-age deltaic sediments in eastern Morocco, generally referred to as the “Kem Kem beds”, are reviewed. These strata are recognized here as the Kem Kem Group, which is composed of the lower Gara Sbaa and upper Douira formations. Both formations have yielded a similar fossil vertebrate assemblage of predominantly isolated elements pertaining to cartilaginous and bony fishes, turtles, crocodyliforms, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs, as well as invertebrate, plant, and trace fossils. These fossils, now in collections around the world, are reviewed and tabulated. The Kem Kem vertebrate fauna is biased toward large-bodied carnivores including at least four large-bodied non-avian theropods (an abelisaurid, Spinosaurus , Carcharodontosaurus , and Deltadromeus ), several large-bodied pterosaurs, and several large crocodyliforms. No comparable modern terrestrial ecosystem exists with similar bias toward large-bodied carnivores. The Kem Kem vertebrate assemblage, currently the best documented association just prior to the onset of the Cenomanian-Turonian marine transgression, captures the taxonomic diversity of a widespread northern African fauna better than any other contemporary assemblage from elsewhere in Africa.