First report of Triassic vertebrate assemblages from the Villány Hills (Southern Hungary)

Attila Ősi, Gábor Botfalvai, Edina Prondvai, Zsófia Hajdu, Gábor Czirják, Zoltán Szentesi, Emília Pozsgai, Annette E. Götz, László Makádi, Dóra Csengődi, Krisztina Sebe

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Remains of Triassic vertebrates discovered in the Villány Hills (SW Hungary) are described here. After the well-documented Late Cretaceous Iharkút locality, this material represents the second systematically collected assemblage of Mesozoic vertebrates from Hungary. Fossils were collected from both the classical abandoned road-cut at Templom Hill (Templom-hegy) and a newly discovered site at a construction zone located 200 meters west of the road-cut. Macrofossils of the construction site are mainly isolated bones and teeth of nothosaurs from the Templomhegy Dolomite, including a fragmentary mandible referred to as Nothosaurus sp. and placodont teeth tentatively assigned here to cf. Cyamodus sp. Affinities of these fossils suggest a Middle Triassic (Ladinian) age of these shallow marine deposits.

New palynological data prove for the first time a Late Triassic (Carnian) age of the lower part of the Mészhegy Sandstone Formation. Vertebrate remains discovered in this formation clearly represent a typical Late Triassic shallow-marine fauna including both chondrichthyan (Lissodus, Palaeobates, Hybodus) and osteichthyan (cf. Saurichthys, ?Sphaerodus sp.) fish fossils. The presence of reworked nothosaur and placodont tooth fragments as well as of possible archosauriform teeth, suggest an increase of terrestrial influence and the erosion of underlying Triassic deposits during the Late Triassic.

A belemnite rostrum collected from the lowermost beds of the Somssichhegy Limestone Formation proves that this Lower Jurassic (Pliensbachian) layer was deposited in a marine environment. Most of the vertebrate remains (nothosaurs, placodonts, hybodont shark teeth, perhaps Palaeobates, Lissodus) recovered from these beds are also reworked Triassic elements strongly supporting an erosive, nearshore depositional environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-335
JournalCentral European Geology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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