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Dinosaur footprints from Cretaceous Kem Kem Beds of Morocco



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

New in PLoS ONE:

Nizar Ibrahim, David J. Varricchio, Paul C. Sereno, Jeff A. Wilson,
Didier B. Dutheil, David M. Martill, Lahssen Baidder & Samir Zouhri
(2014)
Dinosaur Footprints and Other Ichnofauna from the Cretaceous Kem Kem
Beds of Morocco.
PLoS ONE 9(3): e90751.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090751
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0090751


We describe an extensive ichnofossil assemblage from the likely
Cenomanian-age 'lower' and 'upper' units of the 'Kem Kem beds' in
southeastern Morocco. In the lower unit, trace fossils include narrow
vertical burrows in cross-bedded sandstones and borings in dinosaur
bone, with the latter identified as the insect ichnotaxon Cubiculum
ornatus. In the upper unit, several horizons preserve abundant
footprints from theropod dinosaurs. Sauropod and ornithischian
footprints are much rarer, similar to the record for fossil bone and
teeth in the Kem Kem assemblage. The upper unit also preserves a
variety of invertebrate traces including Conichnus (the resting trace
of a sea-anemone), Scolicia (a gastropod trace), Beaconites (a
probable annelid burrow), and subvertical burrows likely created by
crabs for residence and detrital feeding on a tidal flat. The
ichnofossil assemblage from the Upper Cretaceous Kem Kem beds
contributes evidence for a transition from predominantly terrestrial
to marine deposition. Body fossil and ichnofossil records together
provide a detailed view of faunal diversity and local conditions
within a fluvial and deltaic depositional setting on the northwestern
coast of Africa toward the end of the Cretaceous.