8.8" Fossil Theropod (Spinosaurus?) Caudal Vertebra - Kem Kem Beds

This is a 8.8" tall, fossil proximal-caudal vertebra of a theropod (likely Spinosaurus) from the Kem Kem Beds of Morocco. The preservation of this vertebra is quite nice, though many of the processes are broken and weathered. The spinous process broke away near its base and wasn't recovered. One of the articular facets on both the anterior and posterior sides of this vertebra remained intact, while the adjacent facet on each side weathered/broke away. There is a repaired crack and glue stabilization along the base of the largest, most complete transverse process. The centrum is weathered along its edges, as well as fractured in spots throughout the body. The pedicles and vertebral foramen remained intact!

There are two large theropods known from the Kem Kem Beds, Spinosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus. Both have very similar anatomy at the bone level. There are some subtle differences but this bone lacks the markers needed to make a definitive distinction between these two giant theropods.

The Kem Kem Beds are 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.
Spinosaurus sp.?
Kem Kem Basin, Morocco
Kem Kem Beds
8.8 x 7.8 x 6.05"
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