Age: Cenomanian-Turonian (100.5 - 89.8 Ma)
Formation: Tegana (Red Sand)
Origin: Valley of Kem-Kem, Begaa, near Taouz, Errachidia province (Morocco)
Coordinates: 30°53'53.7"N 3°51'48.6"W
Measurements: Length 96 hmm 3.78" / Width 42 hmm 1.65"
Weight: 61 g / 0.135 lbs
Description: Bone plate found on the skin or scale of crocodiles. These ossifications do not correspond to the skeleton and are found in several unrelated genders: in dinosaurs like the Ceratosaurus, in mammals like the Mylodon and in reptiles like the archosaurs. The function also varies, from defensive to become part of the reproductive courtship. In crocodiles, the priority function it performs is the capture of heat, as if they were solar cells. As blood passes through these bony structures, they heat up and thus distribute heat throughout the body to be able to carry out their daily activities and metabolism, since these poikilotherms need heat to carry out all their activities. It is also an invaluable protection in the case of crocodilians against their enemies, since it has a shell of these osteoderms covering the entire back and even the head.
The beds of Kem Kem are located along the border of Morocco with Algeria. These are continental deposits belonging to the Cretaceous period, specifically the Cenomanian stage (100.5 - 93.9 million years). The area is made up of a spectacular stone cliff that stretches 250 kilometers in length and comprises a mighty 150-200m sequence of fluvial siltstones and sandstones. Various species of vertebrates, including elasmobranchs, bony fishes, coelacanths, turtles, crocodiles, pterosaurs, dinosaurs, and birds have been found in this area. It is for this reason that various researchers from the most prestigious universities have referred to this site as "an area where the danger lurks by land, sea and air". They all agree that this site "constitutes a window to the Age of the Dinosaurs in Africa". It is precisely here, in Kem Kem, where the fossil remains of three of the largest predatory dinosaurs ever known.
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