Fossilised Plesiosaur Vertebrae in Matrix, Cretaceous, approx 95 million years old
A large Plesiosaur Vertebrae in Matrix from the Kem Kem Beds in Morocco. This vertebrae is an excellent example in matrix from the phosphate beds.
The plesiosaur was not a dinosaur but a ferocious, carnivorous, marine reptile. They had an exceptionally small head and a long slender neck. Their body was broad with two pairs of large flippers or paddles and a short stumpy tail. These creatures swam in the oceans between 205 million and 65 million years ago. During that span of 140 million years numerous types evolved. Plesiosaur gave birth to live young in shallower water. Some of the largest fossils indicate that the biggest individuals grew up to 15 metres. With the largest of these huge marine reptile weighing 30 tons or more. They are thought to have fed on everything from belemnites and clams and also fish and other reptiles. Although this part of Morocco is now in the Sahara Desert, 90 million years ago this area was very different. It was a fertile area of swamps, lakes and tidal channels, large parts of North Africa at this time were covered by a massive inland sea.