The dirty dozen: taxonomical and taphonomical overview of a unique ankylosaurian (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) assemblage from the Santonian Iharkút locality, Hungary

  • Attila ŐsiEmail author
  • Gábor Botfalvai
  • Gáspár Albert
  • Zsófia Hajdu
Original Paper


Ankylosaurian fossils are usually standard elements of Cretaceous continental vertebrate localities; however, bone-yielding horizons including more than one individual are extremely rare. Here, we present a unique assemblage of 12 partial, articulated or associated ankylosaurian skeletons and thousands of isolated bones and teeth discovered from the Santonian Iharkút vertebrate locality, western Hungary. Collected from an area of 600 m2 and from a single bone bed, this material is one of the richest ankylosaurian accumulation worldwide. The 12 skeletons are not monospecific but mostly based on the pelvic armour composition: six of them are from Hungarosaurus, two are referred to Struthiosaurus and four can be assigned to Nodosauridae indet. Sedimentological and taphonomical examinations revealed a single mass mortality event as the cause of the death and accumulation of these quadruped animals that are described here. The ankylosaur assemblage from Iharkút suggests at least a temporarily gregarious behaviour of these animals and also shows that Hungarosaurus and Struthiosaurus might live in the same moist habitat or at least preferred relatively close environments.


Hungarosaurus Struthiosaurus Mass death assemblage Bone mapping Late Cretaceous Hungary 



We are grateful to Xabier Pereda-Suberbiola and James Kirkland for their constructive comments that greatly improved the manuscript. We thank R. Kalmár (Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest) for technical assistance both on the field and in the collection. We thank Péter Gulyás for the preparation of many of the specimens, and János Magyar and Márton Szabó for taking photographs. We thank the 2001–2016 field crews for their assistance in the fieldwork. We are grateful to the Bakony Bauxite Mines and to Geovolán Zrt. for their logistic help.

Funding information

Field and laboratory work was supported by the Hungarian Natural History Museum, the National Geographic Society (Grant nos. 7228-02, 7508-03) and the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA T-38045, PD 73021, NF 84193). This project was supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (Grant no. NKFIH, 116665); Lendület Program of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Grant no. 95102); the Jurassic Foundation; the Hungarian Dinosaur Foundation; the ÚNKP-17-3 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry of Human Capacities (Grant no. ELTE/12422/16); and the Sepkoski Grants for 2018 of Paleontological Society International Research Program (PalSIRP).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12549_2018_362_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.6 mb)
Supplementary Data 1 Bone maps of the ankylosaur skeletons discovered in Iharkút, Hungary. From the 12th skeleton no bone map could have drawn due to technical and logistical problems. (PDF 1600 kb)
12549_2018_362_MOESM2_ESM.xls (53 kb)
Supplementary Data 2 Skeletal completeness data of the ankylosaur skeletons discovered from the Iharkút locality. (XLS 53 kb)


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Attila Ősi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gábor Botfalvai
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gáspár Albert
    • 4
  • Zsófia Hajdu
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PaleontologyEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Hungarian Natural History MuseumBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Department of Physical and Applied GeologyEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Department of Cartography and GeoinformaticsEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  5. 5.MTA–ELTE Lendület Dinosaur Research GroupBudapestHungary

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