[N] 2006 New Pterosaur specimens from the Cretaceous of Morocco
Rodrigues, T., Kellner, A., Mader, B. & Russell, D. (2006) Brief report on new Pterosaur (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidae) specimens from the Cretaceous of Morocco, JVP 26(3) Abstracts pp.116
Pterosaur remains from Africa are rare. Most of them were found in Morocco, particularly in the terrestrial Cretaceous (Albian-Cenomanian) redbeds that outcrop in several areas of the country. Among the most significant is Siroccopteryx moroccensis (Anhangueridae), which is based on the rostral part of an upper jaw, an azhdarchid cervical vertebra, and isolated remains referred to the Pteranodontidae, Azhdarchidae and Tapejaridae.
Here we report three more specimens that were collected from the Albian/Cenomanian strata of Tafilalt, southeastern Morocco. The first one is a right humerus (NMC 50814), which is broken in two parts and has an estimated length of 300 mm. The deltopectoral crest was broken off, but the distal end of the humerus is quadrangular, similar to the condition observed in the Tapejaroidea. A large pneumatic foramen is present ventrally at the base of the deltopectoral crest. There is also a large and high muscle scar on the dorsal surface of the shaft and a smaller one on the ventral side, both more developed in this specimen than in other pterosaurs. This humerus differs from other pterosaurs and is tentatively referred to the Azhdarchidae, which due to its size represents an animal of a wingspan around 5.5-6 m, making it one of the largest African pterosaurs known so far.
The second specimen is an elongated mid-cervical vertebra (length: 104 mm), bearing low neural spine, condition present in the Azhdarchidae. Three pneumatic foramina border the neural canal, one on each side and another dorsal to it. It lacks the ventral pneumatic openings lateral to the hypapophysis present in a previous azhdarchid cervical (LINHM 014) reported from this country, suggesting the presence of at least two azhdarchid pterosaurs in this deposit.
The third specimen (CMN No. 50859) is an edentulous rostral tip of a jaw, 43 mm long, which belongs either to Pteranodontidae or Azhdarchidae, the latter being favored here. Despite being incomplete, the specimens recorded from Morocco indicate the presence of a diverse pterosaur fauna in the middle part of the Cretaceous in this region.