A Cool Desert Trip
Journey Beyond Travel is one of Morocco’s premier tour operators. One of the things that makes this area of N. Africa compelling, per JBT, is the relatively common availability of excellent quality fossils. Morocco sits on the western edge of the world’s largest hot desert, the Sahara. Look at a map of northern Africa and most of what you see is the Sahara Desert. It covers 3,269 million square miles (9,400, square kilometers) and stretches from the Mediterranean in the north, to the Red Sea on the east, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west
The most recent fossil find in the Sahara by paleontologists is a form of pterodactyl named Phoenix pterosaur with a 20-foot wingspan, a Moroccan resident 90 million years ago. At that time, what is now a hot dry desert, was a lush green tropical forest. 100 million years before that, a large portion of the area was submerged under a salt water ocean.
N Africa 100 million years ago may have been the most dangerous place on earth due to an abundance of carnivorous giant dinosaurs. The largest meat eating predator found so far is Spinosaurus (Spinosaurus aegyptiacus). Spiny the monster dino was 50 feet long, (bigger than a school bus) and about 9 feet longer than the biggest T Rex found so far.
Swimming in the Desert
Scientist were baffled at first at Spiny’s narrow hips and small legs which analysis indicated would have made it difficult to walk given its massive weight. Scientists have concluded that it’s the only aquatic dinosaur ever found.
Many fossils of Onchopristis, (an ancient sawfish that grew up to 25 feet long) and other large fish species have been discovered in the area where Spinosaurus lived
As the Sahara emerged from ocean covered to lush forests with lakes and rivers, (one as large as the Danube) it is obvious that this must have been an era of global warming and climate change.
It would be at least 100 million years before homo sapiens begin to pop up in the archeological record. It seems to the RATIO/NAL Observer that it would be RATIO/NAL to look for causes of warming and cooling cycles other than we homo sapiens, (relative cooling cycles; the ambient temperature of the universe is minus 450 degrees without some heat/energy source. In essence, the earth is always being warmed by something). The earth’s temperature has been oscillating between maximum cold and high temps for a couple of billion years before man made CO2. Holding ourselves solely responsible is IRRATIO/NAL
PBS NOVA has an excellent documentary on this called Bigger Than T. rex