[D] Kemkemia auditorei [sG] [T]
Cau & Maganuco 2009
Cretaceous Late Cenomanian
Saurischia Theropoda [Neotheropoda] ?Ceratosauria
Kem Kem Beds, “Infracénomanien” Tafi lalt, Morocco
A near-complete distal caudal vertebra from an Upper Cretaceous theropod, discovered in the Kem Kem Beds (Cenomanian) of Tafi lalt, Morocco. The specimen exhibits an extremely unusual combination of features , and we herein erect a new species, Kemkemia auditorei gen. et sp. nov.
The specimen differs from other theropod distal caudal vertebrae in the presence of a relatively infl ated neural canal, strongly reduced zygapophyses, a low but very robust neural spine bearing shallow lateral fossae, a mediolaterally concave dorsal surface of the neural spine, and coalescence of the postzygapophyses in a position more proximal than the region where neural spines are absent.
Although Kemkemia shares some derived features with neoceratosaurs, we provisionally refer it to Neotheropoda incertae sedis, pending the discovery of more complete material. Several distal caudal vertebrae from the Maastricthian of India are similar to Kemkemia, and may belong to a closely related taxon.
MSNM V6408, an almost complete distal caudal vertebra of a middle- to large-sized theropod. Locality - Although GPS data were not recorded, the specimen comes from some kilometers south of Erfoud, east of the village of Taouz, and in the direction of the Hamada du Guir, Errachidia Province, Morocco
The generic name refers to the Kem Kem Beds of Morocco, where the holotype specimen was collected. The specifi c name honours the Italian palaeoartist Marco Auditore, for his inexhaustible and enthusiastic support of vertebrate palaeontology.
Kem Kem Beds, “Infracénomanien” (Russell, 1996), Cenomanian, Upper Cretaceous (Sereno et al., 1996). The Kem Kem Beds consist of channeldeposited red sandstone (Russell, 1996; Sereno et al., 1996), lithologically identical to the matrix that encrusted the vertebra and fi lled the neural canal prior to preparation (Pasini, pers. comm., 2008). The specimen was discovered in close association with rostral teeth of the Aptian-Cenomanian elasmobranch Onchopristis sp. (Pasini, pers. com., 2008; Rage & Cappetta, 2002; Russell, 1996). The latter is an extremely common fi nd in the Kem Kem Beds and is often found in association with dinosaur remains (Naish, pers. comm., 2009).
Neotheropod dinosaur bearing distal caudal vertebrae with the following autapomorphies: inflated neural canal, broader than the width of the centrum at mid-length; strongly reduced finger-like prezygapophyses lacking articular facets and failing to reach the level of the articular end of the centrum; robust neural spine (in which the mediolateral width at the apex is at least 30% of the width of the cranial articular surface of the centrum); shallow fossa on the distal half of the lateral surface of the neural spine bounded distally by the postspinal lamina; mediolaterally concave dorsal surface to the neural spine. Differential diagnosis: Kemkemia differs from other theropods, with the possible exception of Ilokelesia (Coria & Salgado, 2000) and Ligabueino (Bonaparte, 1996), in that the postzygapophyses coalesce at a point in the tail more proximal than the point at which loss of the neural spine occurs.