Ahl al Oughlam

Ahl al Oughlam is an extremely important paleontological locality of Africa. It is located just outside the eastern outskirts of the city of Casablanca, 2.6 km before Tit Mellil in Morocco. The first finds were made in a former quarry in 1985, since 1989 provides systematic excavations instead. The age of the archaeological site is indicated with about 2.5 million years ago, this corresponds to the start of the Gelasiums, the top step of the Pliocene. So far, about 80 species of vertebrates have been discovered, mainly mammals ( including primates, but no hominid ) and birds. Ahl al Oughlam is thus the richest Vertebratenfundstelle North Africa.

Geological and geomorphological framework

The Near Casablanca consists of folded Paleozoic basement - mittelkambrische slate, greywacke and quartzite. This bedrock is called Küstenmeseta and structurally belongs to the Moroccan Meseta. It occurs only very occasionally to the surface, most of it is covered by Neogene formations.

Characteristic of the Meseta is the relative stability that has experienced after the Variscan orogeny of this crustal region - in contrast to the nearby Atlas. The Meseta was gradually eroded to a single hull surface in the subsequent period and then recorded from the Neogene of several Transgressionszyklen of the Atlantic. The first and most important of these cycles at the same place in Tortonian ( Miocene ), the second with insertion of Gelasiums - he bears the local name " Moghrebium ".

Ahl al Oughlam is part of the third cycle, the " Messaoudium ". When recession of the sea, a parallel to the coast Dünenzug formed with a gravel layer at the base. The real sand body had now solidified into limestone. This then solidified sediment body it came to Karstifizierungserscheinungen and clefts; the latter were a rich fauna undoing.

In the Pleistocene ( Quaternary ) then follow Atlantic forward five more trains dunes. It should be noted here is that this transgression and regression cycles pretty good match temporally with the interglacials and ice ages.

Ahl al Oughlam is around 6.2 kilometers from the Atlantic coast to 108 meters above sea level The Küstenmeseta thus shows since the Neogene strong Auftauchtendenzen with formation of large Abrasionsterrassen.


The most frequently represented among the finds vertebrates were made ​​unique in the class of mammals:

Primates (Primates )

  • Macaca sp. - Macaque
  • Theropithecus atlanticus - Baboon

Rodents ( Rodentia )

  • Gerbillus beaver soni - Gerbil
  • Hystrix sp. - Porcupine
  • Irhoudia sp. - Kammfingerart
  • Mus haouzi - kind of mouse
  • Paraethomys chikeri - extinct kind of mouse related to the Lavamäusen
  • Praomys Skouri oughlamensis - African soft rat

Lagomorphs ( Lagomorpha )

  • Lepus sp. - Real Rabbit
  • Prolagus - Pika
  • Serengetilagus - extinct rabbit dwelling

Insectivores ( Eulipotyphla )

  • Episoriculus maghrebiensis - shrew
  • Erinaceus sp. - Small eared Hedgehog
  • Suncus barbarus - Dick tail shrew

Bats ( Chiroptera )

  • Emballonura - Straight Nose Free Delicate Swan
  • Lasionycteris - Silver Hair bat
  • Myotis - mouse-eared bat
  • Rhinolophus sp. - Horseshoe bat

Carnivores ( Carnivora )

  • Acinonyx aicha - extinct Gepardart
  • Alachtherium africanum - extinct Walrossart
  • Canis aureus - Golden jackal
  • Chasmaporthetes nitidula darelbeidae - extinct hyena
  • Crocuta DBAA - Spotted Hyena
  • Dinofelis sp. - " Horror Cat"
  • Genetta sp. - Genet
  • Herpestes abdelalii - extinct Mangustenart
  • Homotherium sp. - Extinct saber-toothed cat
  • Hyaenictitherium barbarum - extinct hyena
  • Ichneumia nims - Mangustenart
  • Lutra fatimazohrae - otter
  • Lynx sp. - Lynx
  • Mellivora sp. - Honey Badger
  • Nyctereutes abdeslami - raccoon dog
  • Panthera pardus - Leopard
  • Pliocrocuta perrieri latidens - extinct hyena
  • Poecilictis lybica minor - Libyan strip Wiesel
  • Prepoecilogale sp. - Bandiltisart
  • Ursus sp. - Bear
  • Viverra leakeyi - extinct Zibetkatzenart
  • Vulpes sp. - Fox

Odd-toed ungulates ( Perissodactyla )

  • Ceratotherium sp. - Rhinoceros
  • Hipparion pomeli - extinct horse species

Ungulates ( Artiodactyla )

  • Beatragus antiquus Remotus - antelope
  • Camelus sp. - Altweltkamel
  • Gazella psolea - extinct gazelle
  • Gazella thomasi - extinct gazelle
  • Kobus barbarus - Wasserbockart
  • Kolpochoerus phacochoeroides - extinct Buschschweinart
  • Parmularius atlanticus - extinct Kuhantilopenart
  • Sivatherium maurusium - Cattle Giraffe
  • Tragelaphus sp. - antelope

Whales ( Cetacea)

  • Delphinus sp. - Common Dolphin
  • Kogia sp. - Zwergpottwal

Proboscidea ( Proboscidea )

  • Anancus sp. - Extinct Mastodontenart
  • Elephas recki - extinct Elefantenart

In addition to the mammals, the birds are the most represented group of animals with 20 species, followed by reptiles with 15 species and amphibians with 3 types. In addition, countless occasional fish remains have been found.

What is striking is the large number of predators among mammals - apparently they had their hideouts in caves and crevices of the dunes turn.

The fauna shows a total of echoes of East African sites (eg Omo ), but there are also Southern European influences exist.

Strange are the remains of a walrus and a now extinct horned cattle giraffe.