4.55" Fossil Primitive Whale (Basilosaur) Premolar Tooth - Morocco

This is a 4.55" long premolar from a Basilosaurid, a type of Archaeocete (primitive whale). These rare teeth come from the Late Eocene-aged deposits in the Western Sahara near Dakhla, Morocco. They're commonly found associated with teeth of the shark Auriculatus, a Megalodon ancestor. Our research indicates the most likely species is the Basilosaur, Zygorhiza kochii, but this is not definitive.

These teeth are nearly always found fractured and require repair work. This tooth has gap fill restoration that runs through the crown and into the root and repaired cracks. The carinae on the crown exhibits both natural enamel wear and some damage from the extraction process.

Basilosaurids could reach gigantic sizes with some species reaching nearly 60 feet in length. It is believed that they fed on fish, sharks, and sea birds. They had teeth optimized for catching and chewing prey. The front teeth in the jaw were pointed for catching and holding fish while they had very uniquely shaped, double rooted molars for chewing.

An artists rendering of a Basilosaur.  Drawing by Pavel Riha. 
 GNU Free Documentation License
An artists rendering of a Basilosaur. Drawing by Pavel Riha.
GNU Free Documentation License


The Middle to Late Eocene formations of Southwestern Morocco contains a diverse fauna of Basilosaurs including more than half a dozen described species of the genus' Dorudon, Stromerius, Saghacetus, Eocetus, Platyosphys and Basilosaurus. Fossil teeth are nearly identical between Basilosaur species, so other than using tooth size, and exact horizon the teeth were collected from (which is not known) to narrow down the species, there is no way of assigning isolated tooth to a specific species. These teeth have often been labeled as the genus Zygorhiza in the past, but based on new research into the archaeocete faunas of Morocco it does not appear this genus is found there.

Several papers on the Basilosaurs of Southwestern Morocco can be found below.

New marine mammal faunas (Cetacea and Sirenia) and sea level change in the Samlat Formation, Upper Eocene, near Ad-Dakhla in southwestern Morocco

New fauna of archaeocete whales (Mammalia, Cetacea) from theBartonian middle Eocene of southern Morocco

Stomach contents of the archaeocete Basilosaurus isis: Apex predator in oceans of the late Eocene

A cast of a Basilosaurus jaw showing the varying tooth shapes in the jaw.
A cast of a Basilosaurus jaw showing the varying tooth shapes in the jaw.
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DETAILS
SPECIES
Unidentified Basilosaur
LOCATION
Dakhla, Western Sahara, Morocco
FORMATION
Samlat Formation
SIZE
Tooth: 4.55" long
CATEGORY
SUB CATEGORY
ITEM
#225366
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