Fossil vertebrates from the phosphate Basins of Morocco (Late Cretaceous-early Eocene)
Nathalie BARDET, Emmanuel GHEERBRANT, Nour-Eddine JALIL
UMR 7207, CR2P, Département Origine et Evolution, CNRS-MNHN-Sorbonne Université, Paris
The outstanding feature of the fossiliferous phosphate basins known in Morocco is the exceptional paleobiodiversity preserved locally during 24 Myr, from the Late Cretaceous to the Early/Middle Eocene. The Moroccan phosphate basins provide original data on the in situ evolution of marine and terrestrial faunas especially during the K/T and P/E major events in poorly known palaeobiogeographical provinces (South Atlantic, Southern Tethys margin, Africa).
The primary aim of the project is a palaeontological study by a multidisciplinary team of the exceptional local vertebrate faunas, especially those from the Ouled Abdoun and Ganntour basins, with research lines such as systematics, phylogeny, biostratigraphy, faunal evolution and turnover (especially during K/T and P/E transitions), palaeobiogeography and palaeoecology.
Coupled with the palaeontological research program, the project plans to gather and manage an international reference collection representative of the palaeobiodiversity of the vertebrate faunas from the phosphates basins of Morocco, relevant to research, education and exhibition. This collection, which constitutes a world-wide natural heritage of Morocco, is the basis for of a palaeontological museum project by the OCP in the mining center of Khouribga, with the support of the Department of the Galeries of the NMNH.