The Kem Kem Beds-Africa’s Dinosaur Graveyard


Around 95 Million years ago, North Africa was once a wet paradise. In what is now southeastern Morocco, prehistoric dinosaurs ruled the land known today as the Kem Kem fossil beds.

It is a geological formation near the boarder of Morocco and Algeria in southeastern Morocco, the strata was dated back to the Late Cretaceous.

Restoration of Life from the Kem Kem Beds

The Kem Kem Beds (also referred to by various names including the Continental Red Beds and Continental intercalaire) is a geological formation along the border between Morocco and Algeria in southeastern Morocco, whose strata date back to the Late Cretaceous. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation. Recent fossil evidence in the form of isolated large abelisaurid bones and comparisons with other similarly aged deposits elsewhere in Africa indicates that the fauna of the Kem Kem Beds (specifically in regard to the numerous predatory theropod dinosaurs) may have been mixed together due to the harsh and changing geology of the region when in reality they would likely have preferred separate habitats and likely would be separated by millions of years.

Reconstruction Mawsonia (fish)

A lot of Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the area. Among the Recent fossil evidence in the form of isolated large abelisaurid bones and comparisons with other similarly aged deposits elsewhere in Africa indicates that the fauna of the Kem Kem Beds (specifically in regard to the numerous predatory theropod dinosaurs) may have been mixed together due to the harsh and changing geology of the region when in reality they would likely have preferred separate habitats and likely would be separated by millions of years.

Rostrum and teeth fossils from Onchopritis
Reconstructed head of Carcharodontosaurus

The prehistoric ecology of the Kem Kem beds has yet to be fully worked out. Among the questions that remain: How many species of predatory dinosaur were there? Were they all present at one time, or does the formation represent a succession of different assemblages predators over time? What species of herbivorous dinosaurs were present, and how abundant were they? How did these fossil beds accumulate, and how long did it take? Answering these questions will take years of difficult work, both in the lab and the field, but in the process of doing so we will be better able to restore this lost world of Mesozoic Morocco.

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Written by AfricaExplorerMagazine

African Explorer Magazine is a publication being run by African Media Professionals, Explorers, Scientists, Researchers and Writers. Our Media Platforms tells African Stories from an Africans Perspective.

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