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Morroco: What makes it special?


MeargleSchmeargl

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MeargleSchmeargl

Whenever I hear about places in the world that are the richest to hunt, I hear one word over and over again: "Morroco, Morroco, Morroco!" 

 

Whenever I search the internet for photos of quality specimens of any number of species at any number of ages, I see the same word over and over again: "Morroco, Morroco, Morroco!"

 

So what is it about Morroco that makes the sheer quantity and quality of their specimens a thing? 

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Well a big part of Morocco economy is focused on the fossil industry.   So lots of people/towns are focused just in collecting and processing them which results in a enormous amount of very diverse fossils to be distributed to every part of the world.  The fossils are typically beautiful, fit a diverse collector base, and sold at every price point  that collectors/dealers are looking for.   It's an industry, a fossil machine unlike any other one found in the world.

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BadlandTraveller

I would like to add that a lot of other fossil rich locations in the world have strict laws protecting the export of fossils. 

 

Morocco not so much. 

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1 hour ago, BadlandTraveller said:

I would like to add that a lot of other fossil rich locations in the world have strict laws protecting the export of fossils. 

 

Morocco not so much. 

 

And here in the USA we have laws and rules that protect areas from over collecting and or none at all.

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4 hours ago, MeargleSchmeargl said:

 

So what is it about Morroco that makes the sheer quantity and quality of their specimens a thing? 

Morocco also benefits from a few other things. Unlike so many other regions on the planet, there are large swathes of under- or entirely undeveloped areas, some of that due to economics, colonial history, and the plain fact that some of the mountainous and desert regions are not all that suitable for extensive habitable development. Mix in the largely arid climate with plenty of exposures due to the forces of nature, where the regions were situated at different times in the earth's geologic history, and you get a highly productive place rich in diversity and abundant fossils. :) 

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There are many countries with equal or even greater fossil miscellany. What makes Morocco stand out is that selling fossils has become a major industry so you will see fossils from Morocco in abundance all over the internet and at fairs for sale at relatively low prices. Resultantly they have become a mainstream in collections; almost every fossil collection seems to have some. In other countries the bulk of fossils are collected by individuals and aren’t as available on the open market as fossils from Morocco are, and hence they are lesser known. There are exceptions where commercial collecting is extensive (such as Green River fish), but this is typically limited to specific localities whereas in Morocco it’s much more widespread.

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Kane is right , the desert and mountains regions make for an incredible amount of exposed productive layers over there . I doubt there is another country with the same mix of (exposed layers/diversity and variety of fossils ).

Then there are the climate , the landscape , the people , all reasons that make it also a good target for fossil hunters ..

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Ahh, Morocco. The land of sedimentary rocks and fossils galore, where all who want to fossil hunt, may fossil hunt. It’s got just about every time period crammed into its stratigraphy and fossil hunting in these plentiful rocks is all but encouraged. Wondering what @Tidgy's Dad has to say about this paleontological heaven.

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27 minutes ago, taj said:

I doubt there is another country with the same mix of (exposed layers/diversity and variety of fossils ).

You’d be surprised then. ;) Britain has just about every geological period represented at outcrop with fossil bearing localities. Similar can be said for Germany and other European countries. Most localities are generally unheard of amongst the locals let alone internationally, but the diversity and quality is astonishing.

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3 hours ago, Kosmoceras said:

You’d be surprised then. ;) Britain has just about every geological period represented at outcrop with fossil bearing localities. Similar can be said for Germany and other European countries. Most localities are generally unheard of amongst the locals let alone internationally, but the diversity and quality is astonishing.

May as well throw Canada on that list, too, although it is not a fair comparison given that it is such a vast country! :P:D 

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Just now, Kane said:

May as well throw Canada on that list, too, although it is not a fair comparison given that it is such a vast country! :P:D 

How about the state of Maryland, we fossils have surface deposits/fossils from all the geological periods since the Cambrian (excluding the oligocene and Jurassic for some odd reason, I guess glaciers. Think I remember drilling uncovering subsurface oligocene deposits in the bay)

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I am really surprised that Adam @Tidgy's Dad hasn't piped in with the comment.

"The thing that makes it special is because I live here!"

What else do you need. You know we love you Adam!

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10 hours ago, Sagebrush Steve said:

@Tidgy's Dad do you have a spare bedroom for @Nimravis?

We're going to need more than one room.  Think of all the fossil display space we need.  Better have Adam keep an eye out for available houses.  

There might be a huge influx of members migrating to Fes.

 When's the Barbeque?

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On 25 janvier 2018 at 11:19 PM, Kosmoceras said:

You’d be surprised then. ;) Britain has just about every geological period represented at outcrop with fossil bearing localities. Similar can be said for Germany and other European countries. Most localities are generally unheard of amongst the locals let alone internationally, but the diversity and quality is astonishing.

No doubt  , France among them too , but that doesn't account for the  "exposed layers" size in square kilometers in the combo :(exposed layers/diversity and variety of fossils ) compared to Morocco ...Desert has some advantages .....

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On 1/26/2018 at 1:06 AM, Nimravis said:

Ok, I’m sold- I’m moving to Morocco.

You'd be most welcome, Ralph. 

Marhaban! :)

I was made very welcome here 12 years back.

So I stayed.

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On 1/26/2018 at 1:42 AM, caldigger said:

I am really surprised that Adam @Tidgy's Dad hasn't piped in with the comment.

"The thing that makes it special is because I live here!"

What else do you need. You know we love you Adam!

Sorry, Doren, I've been having internet problems. 

Or rather, my credit expired and i've been too lazy to go out and renew it. 

Back now. (obviously). 

Now, what was it ?

Oh, yes, "The thing that makes Morocco special is that I live here!" 

Seriously, I agree with many of the points above :

The fossil economy; unlike many parts of the world there are few local enthusiasts, either professional or amateur, the fossils are a way to make money, nothing more to most, so nearly everything is available to sell. 

Quality; Yes, some of the Lagerstatten produce incredibly well preserved and fantastic specimens, Upper Ordovician for example, while the Devonian trilobite beds, Cretaceous ammonite deposits, the phosphate mines and the Kem Kem beds also produce beautiful fossils that people love to collect. 

Laws; the laws here are not entirely clear, and not particularly enforced for the most part. It seems to actually be the case that no one is allowed to export fossils or even sell them within the country without a licence from the Mining Ministry also known as the Ministry of Phosphates. There are only a set number of these, but no one seems to know how many, and of course, the reality is that every tiny shop down south seems to sell them and they are sent or taken out of the country in huge quantities. Neighbouring countries, like Algeria, have many of the same beds, the Devonian sequences and the Kem Kem both extend into Algeria, but they have much stricter and enforced regulations. As has been said, collecting laws exist in many countries and locations, limits and prohibition occur, but In Morocco, there is no, or very little restriction on collecting that I have heard of or encountered 

Topography; we have four ranges of mountains cutting across the width of the country, more mountains than anywhere else in North Africa, these bring rocks of different periods to the surface, allow for multiple exposures, keep many people away and protect us from the advance of the Sahara that has engulfed most of the rest of North Africa 

Climate; the aridity and climate in general result in little surface cover; in many places soil or vegetation cover is thin or non-existent

However, it's not the whole country, I have to travel quite a few hours to get to the good fossil locations, my area is pretty non-fossiliferous or not exposed at the surface Also we don't have the full stratigraphical column exposed, or at least not fossiliferous strata, the Silurian is poorly represented and the whole Carboniferous, Permo-Trias too Jurassic is very remote and difficult to access and large parts of the Tertiary too, unless you head into the wilds of Western Sahara, pretty much unexplored for the most part 

But yes, it's great! 

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On 1/26/2018 at 3:45 AM, Sagebrush Steve said:

@Tidgy's Dad do you have a spare bedroom for @Nimravis?

And for you, Steve! 

All welcome here! :)

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On 1/26/2018 at 2:36 PM, caldigger said:

We're going to need more than one room.  Think of all the fossil display space we need.  Better have Adam keep an eye out for available houses.  

There might be a huge influx of members migrating to Fes.

 When's the Barbeque?

Yup, lots of huge riads and dars available at rock bottom prices! No building taxes and the yearly community charge/ council tax/ rates is about 11 dollars. 

Barbecues virtually daily in the summer, just follow your nose and you'll be made welcome. :D

 

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I’ve heard rumors of the king of Morocco opening his own museum and some people expect the exportation of fossils to soon be banned... have you heard anything like that @Tidgy's Dad ?

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10 minutes ago, HamptonsDoc said:

I’ve heard rumors of the king of Morocco opening his own museum and some people expect the exportation of fossils to soon be banned... have you heard anything like that @Tidgy's Dad ?

Yes, I've heard the rumours. 

The museum will certainly happen and I believe the licensing of sales and export will be tightened up very shortly. I think some exports will be banned, but the majority of Moroccan sales will continue because of the huge number of jobs created in particularly poor areas and the millions of dollars Morocco makes from this every year.

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Well , I think Tidgy has posted somewhere a copy of a paper that I read sometime ago about the economy of fossils in Morocco . I don't remember it in details , but I think they stated this economy was providing roughly 50 000 people ( both direct and indirect ) with their primary income . And this in remote areas , far from the big cities where jobs are really scarce ...Good luck to the people who will  try to stop this ....

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