Attila Ősi, Zoltán Csiki-Sava & Edina Prondvai (2017)
A Sauropod Tooth from the Santonian of Hungary and the European Late Cretaceous ‘Sauropod Hiatus’.
Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 3261 (2017)
The lack of sauropod body fossils from the 20 My-long mid-Cenomanian to the late Campanian interval of the Late Cretaceous in Europe is referred to as the ‘sauropod hiatus’, with only a few footprints reported from the Apulian microplate (i.e. the southern part of the European archipelago). Here we describe a single tooth from the Santonian continental beds of Iharkút, Hungary, that represents the first European body fossil evidence of a sauropod from this critical time interval. The mosaic of derived and plesiomorphic features documented by the tooth crown morphology points to a basal titanosauriform affinity suggesting the occurrence of a clade of sauropods in the Upper Cretaceous of Europe that is quite different from the previously known Campano-Maastrichtian titanosaurs. Along with the footprints coming from shallow marine sediments, this tooth further strengthens the view that the extreme rarity of sauropod remains from this period of Europe is the result of sampling bias related to the dominance of coastal over inland sediments, in the latter of which sauropod fossils usually occur. This is also in line with the hypothesis that sauropods preferred inland habitats to swampy environments.