The preservation of this tooth is outstanding. It does not have any restoration or reparation. All its main features are very well defined. Its strong lateral serrations are perfectly preserved. The color of its enamel is remarkable. The reddish and orangish tonalities are stunning. We are used to deal with dinosaur teeth with amazing mineralizations, but this one surprises even us. Without doubt, it would make a great exhibition piece.
Its morphology is not the same as that of the typical Carcharodontosaurus teeth --very compressed on both sides, with almost a symmetrical profile. This tooth presents a non symmetrical profile. It is flat convex. This type of teeth are usually classified by other sellers as belonging to the Deltadromeus genus (belonging to the Neovenatoridae-Allosauroidea family). However, we do not know yet how were the teeth of the Deltadromeus, because a cranium has not yet been discovered. The description of the Deltadromeus holotype (Sereno et al, 1996) was done only with elements of the postcranial skeleton. There was no cranium, therefore we do not know yet how their teeth were. This way, we cannot classify a tooth as something which we do not know yet how it was. The personal opinion of our experts is that, most probably, this type of morphology belongs as well to the Carcharodontosaurus, but to the small mouth sector of the mesial teeth. The mesial teeth are those found in the most frontal part of the jaw or the maxillar, those found in the snout. Other great theropods are also heterodont, where teeth of approximately symmetrical profile are in the central parts of the jaw, and they progressively become flat convex towards the pre-maxillar zone (the snout). Indeed, the shape and distribution of the battery of lateral serrations between these two morphologies is almost indistinguishable.
The teeth with strong and vivid fossilization colors such as red, orange and black come from small paleochannels composed by thin layers, in the intermediate and upper stratigraphic levels (Red Sandstone Beds), from the Aoufous Formation (Kem Kem Basin, South of Morocco). The lithology of this body of sediment is characterized by the dominance of sandstones (also known as arenites) and fluvial gravel, of siliceous nature. Sometimes large concentrations of iron oxide are present, and then a small sample of that is usually present at the base of the tooth. These mineralizations are responsible for the wide range of beautiful reddish color tones, slowly drawn during millions of years via fossil-diagenetic processes. The complicated sedimentarian architecture of the layers where most large vertebrates are found makes the excavation methodology a real challenge. Sometimes the local miners have to excavate long tunnels that follow the distribution of the fossiliferous layer.
The quarries in the red and yellow fossiliferous levels with sands are gravels (Aoufous Fm e Ifezouane Fm) are becoming more inaccessible and dangerous for the local miners. Therefore this type of teeth is everyday more scarce. The teeth which are found on the surface in nearby sites have a bad preservation due to the abrasion that they suffer during its exposition to high temperatures and aggressive desert climate conditions. However, the teeth that are extracted from the depth of the mines are usually much better preserved.
The different Geological Formations that make up the orography of the Cretaceous in the South East of Morocco have been mostly treated in an undifferentiated and not too accurate way by collectors, by Paleontology aficionados and by fossil dealers.
Historically, fossils dealers from all around the world have identified the dinosaur pieces from this sector as belonging to the Tegana Formation. However, in a formal way, most of the last published studies refer to other nomenclature in the description of the units and formations of the Lower and Upper Cretaceous.
That's why next we include an interesting link where the Aoufous Formation and the Ifezouane Formation are described, making reference to their age, geological history, sedimentology, stratigraphy and vertebrate assemblage. It includes a brief explanation of the stratigraphic concepts that have been established formally until today in the studies of this sector of Morocco.
This way, the precise stratigraphic understanding of the origin of the rests, as well as the sedimentological analysis, enables a better paleoecologic characterization of the environments where this amazing dinosaur assemblage lived.
Link: Aoufous Formation