7.4" Fossil Pterosaur (Siroccopteryx) Phalanx III Bone - Morocco

This is a 7.4" long, fossil pterosaur (Siroccopteryx (Coloborhynchus) moroccensis) phalanx III (distal wing) bone from the Kem Kem Beds of Taouz, Morocco. It is the proximal end of the bone and like most pterosaur bones, it's light for its size and hollow.

There are three repaired cracks through the bone.

Siroccopteryx moroccensis is a Late Cretaceous pterosaur whose fossil are found in Morocco. It would have been one of the largest pterosaurs with a wingspan of around 12-15 feet (4-5 meters). It is likely that this animal was a specialized glider, and ventured into the sea off the coast of Africa, to capture fishes and other prey that swim near the surface.

The exact genus and taxonomy of this pterosaur is still up for debate. Some researchers consider it a member of the Coloborhynchus genus, some consider Siroccopteryx a seperate genus and yet others have proposed it is closer to the Anhanguera genus. Siroccopteryx appears to be the genus name more widely in use.

Artists reconstruction of a species of Siroccopteryx.
Artists reconstruction of a species of Siroccopteryx.

Siroccopteryx had a unique dental pattern. The front two teeth were flattened and stuck straight out the front of the jaw. The next three sets of teeth were curved and stuck out to the side of the jaw. The last two pairs of teeth stuck straight out of the jaw. This arrangement was probably to help the Pterosaur to catch the fish it fed on.

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.
Siroccopteryx (Coloborhynchus) moroccensis
Kem Kem Basin, Taouz, Morocco
Kem Kem Beds
7.4" long
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