One of a kind dinosaur fossils, unearthed in Tara Hategului UNESCO International Geopark

The fossils of dinosaurs from the Rhabdodontidae family, unique in the world, belonging to a small herbivorous species, 2 – 6 meters long, and with an age of approximately 70 million years, were discovered on the territory of the UNESCO International Geopark Tara Hategului, near the town of Valioara, from southwestern Hunedoara county, the University of Bucharest, the administrator of the geopark, informed on Tuesday.

The discovery was possible as a result of the research carried out in recent years by an international team of researchers from the Faculty of Geology and Geophysics of the University of Bucharest and from the Paleontology Department of the Eotvos Lorand Tudomanyegyetem University in Budapest (ELTE – Eotvos Lorand Tudomanyegyetem).

The most numerous dinosaur fossils identified belong to a herbivorous, bipedal and small species, 2 – 6 m long, member of the Rhabdodontidae group. The study of this rich fossil material is being carried out within the framework of a multi-year collaboration agreement between the two universities, and the first results of this research were published in December 2023 in the specialized journal Cretaceous Research, which represents a confirmation of the discovery by scientific communities.

The bones discovered are in a very good state of preservation, without having been broken or excessively damaged despite their age, and include parts of the skeleton that have never been identified in Rhabdodontids before this study.

“This group of herbivorous dinosaurs relatively small in size, from 2 to 6 m in length, currently includes 9 different species, of which 3 are known only from the area of Transylvania, in Romania. In addition, many of these species have been identified only recently, in the last two decades, mainly due to the expansion of systematic research, in the Hateg Basin and in other parts of Europe,” declared Dr. Janos Magyar, the main author of the study and PhD student at ELTE University in Budapest.