This is one of our most special small Pterosaur claws. It has some glued and restored (filled) fractures at the proximal end. This type of specimens are extremely rare to find in the quarries. A single Pterosaur can provide many teeth to the fossil record, however only a few claws. The claw has a very stylized morphology.
This is a piece worth of advanced collectors. Its stratigraphic origin is in the basal levels of the Ifezouane Formation, a few miles south-east of Ouzina, Errachidia province, South of Morocco.
The exact taxonomic classification is complex given that there are very few published studies that refer to the claw rests of the Pterosaurs in the North African Upper Cretaceous.
The genus, and even the family to which they belong, is somewhat complicated to ascertain. In this area of North Africa have been described remains mainly belonging to two families; Anhangueridae and Azharchidae. Others have also been described, but their remains are even rarer.
Diagnostic characteristics of pterosaur claws:
-Symmetrical vein grooves
-The bottom of the digit claw is flat.
-The bend at the end of the tip is a specific trait of Pterosaur claws: The tip shows a thin flange or ridge of bone on the very tip on the ventral edge. It could be considered an adaptation for the best grip when perching on steep surfaces. That flange aids in hooking on cliffs.
The rarity of discovering a specimen such amazing as this one, makes it worth considering it in the investment class.
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.
Picture: Geological contextualization of North Africa outcrops: "First report on Cretaceous vertebrates from the Algerian Kem Kem beds. A new procoelous salamander from the Cenomanian, with remarks on African Caudata" Tannina Alloul et al., 2018.
Picture: Geological map and statigraphic section of KemKem Cretaceous outcrops "Taxonomic Composition and Trophic Structure of the Continental Bony Fish Assemblage from the Early Late Cretaceous of Southeastern Morocco" Cavin L et al., 2015.
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 vertebrates assemblage lived.