2.4" Rooted Theropod Dinosaur (Deltadromeus?) - Kem Kem Beds

This is an exceptional, 2.4" long, rooted theropod tooth from the Kem Kem Beds near Taouz, Morocco. The tooth is very well preserved with excellent enamel, fine serrations and an original root. It is very difficult to find rooted teeth, and this one only has a single repaired crack near the base of the root.

The crown of the tooth is .95" long and is much more round in cross-section than the common Abelisaurid teeth found in the formation. It represents one of the rarer theropod teeth found in the formation and could be from Deltadromeus.

Deltadromeus is a poorly understood theropod originally described from the Kem Kem Beds. No skull material has ever been found so assigning teeth to this genus is a best guess. This tooth doesn't match any of the other known theropods from the formation (Carcharodontosaurus, Abelisaurids, Spinosaurus, Dromaeosaurs) so out of the known dinosaurs that leaves Deltadromeus. Many studies published since the original description of Deltadromeus have considered it to be a ceratosaur, although different studies disagree on what kind of ceratosaur. One 2003 study suggested it was a member of the Noasauridae, though others have found it to be more primitive, possibly related to the primitive ceratosaurs Elaphrosaurus and Limusaurus. There is also speculation it might be a primitive Tyrannosaur.

The Kem Kem Group is famous for yielding a diverse, Late Cretaceous, vertebrate assemblage including fish, reptiles and dinosaurs such as Spinosaurus. These fossils are found in a thin bed that outcrops around the edge of a large plateau near Taouz, Morocco. Local miners collect these fossils by digging narrow tunnels by hand into this plateau following the layer.

A paper on this assemblage can be found at: Vertebrate assemblages from the early Late Cretaceous of southeastern Morocco: An overview

One of the tunnels dug into the Kem Kem beds by local miners following the productive fossil beds.
One of the tunnels dug into the Kem Kem beds by local miners following the productive fossil beds.
Taouz, Kem Kem Basin, Morocco
Kem Kem Beds
2.4" long, .95" Crown
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