Skip to Main Content

Mammal localities of Grand Daoui quarries, Ouled Abdoun Basin, Morocco, Ypresian; a first survey

Emmanuel Gheerbrant, Jean Sudre, Henri Cappetta, Cecile Mourer-Chauvire, Estelle Bourdon, Mohamed Iarochene, Mbarek Amaghzaz and Baadi Bouya
Les localites a mammiferes des carrieres de Grand Daoui, bassin des Ouled Abdoun, Maroc, Ypresien; premier etat des lieux
Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France (2003) 174 (3): 279-293


The unexpected discovery of mammals such as the earliest known proboscidean Phosphatherium escuilliei in the Ouled Abdoun phosphate Basin (Morocco), which is otherwise renowned for its very rich marine vertebrate fauna, has opened major new perspectives on the early African placental fauna. It was the impetus for several field parties by us between 1997 and 2001 which has allowed this survey of the geological, stratigraphic and paleontological context of Phosphatherium localities. This is the first important paleontological field work dealing with higher vertebrates in the Ouled Abdoun Basin since the work of C. Arambourg. Most of the material of Phosphatherium and other Ouled Abdoun mammals was found by local people searching for fossils for dealing, in an area where the economy is widely dominated by the mining development, in addition to more traditional but very poor agricultural resources. All Phosphatherium remains were found in the northeasternmost quarries of the Ouled Abdoun Basin, from a restricted quarrying area called Grand Daoui (fig. 3). In all Grand Daoui recognized localities (8), the mammals come from the lowermost Eocene level. The stratigraphically re-situated mammalian material was found in a bone-bed of the level called "Intercalaire Couches II/I" which is dated as early(iest) Ypresian on the basis of its relative stratigraphic position and its selachian fauna. At present, the occurrence of several mammal horizons in the "Intercalaire Couches II/I" (and Couche I?) cannot be excluded, but their age difference seems not significant according to both the associated selachian taxa and the mammalian material, in present data. The bone-bed is very rich in macro-vertebrates. It includes especially large teeth of the shark Otodus obliquus which are the subject of very active research for dealing, and which explains the recent discovery of mammals such as Phosphatherium. The level "Intercalaire Couches II/I" is made of a hardened phosphatic bioclastic limestone which is separated from underlying Paleocene levels by a major discontinuity. It is the first deposit of the Eocene sequence (megasequence C) in the Ouled Abdoun phosphate series. Deposition of this new sequence partly reworked the underlying Thanetian levels in the lowermost horizons of the level "Intercalaire Couches II/I", such as the mammals bearing bone-bed. This explains the recovery of Thanetian selachians in the matrix of the holotype of P. escuilliei and its initial allocation to the Thanetian by Gheerbrant et al. [1996, 1998]. These Thanetian selachian species are now clearly recognized as reworked. Studies of new samples of selachians associated with the newly recovered remains of P. escuilliei and other Grand Daoui mammals have confirmed our field observations owing to the identification of typical early Ypresian species which are listed in table I. P. escuilliei and other mammals from Grand Daoui quarries are confidently dated here as early(iest) Ypresian. As a general rule, there is no known concentration of fossil remains of species of terrestrial origin in the Ouled Abdoun epicontinental Basin. The mammals are exceedingly rare, documented by very few occurrences in contrast to the associated very rich marine vertebrate remains in the phosphate deposits......

ISSN: 0037-9409
EISSN: 1777-5817
Coden: #02538
Serial Title: Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France
Serial Volume: 174
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Les localites a mammiferes des carrieres de Grand Daoui, bassin des Ouled Abdoun, Maroc, Ypresien; premier etat des lieux
Translated Title: Mammal localities of Grand Daoui quarries, Ouled Abdoun Basin, Morocco, Ypresian; a first survey
Affiliation: Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France
Pages: 279-293
Published: 2003
Text Language: French
Summary Language: English
Publisher: Societe Geologique de France, Paris, France
References: 56
Accession Number: 2003-054752
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. strat. cols., geol. sketch maps
N32°00'00" - N33°00'00", W08°00'00" - W07°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Universite de Montpellier II, FRA, FranceUniversite Claude Bernard-Lyon I, FRA, FranceMinistere de l'Energie et des Mines, MAR, MoroccoCentre Minier de Khouribga, MAR, Morocco
Country of Publication: France
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 200318
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal