Inferred bite marks on a Late Cretaceous (Santonian) bothremydid turtle and a hylaeochampsid crocodilian from Hungary

Gábor Botfalvai, Edina Prondvai, Attila Ősi

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The Iharkút locality in the Bakony Mountains of western Hungary has provided a rich and diverse assemblage of Late Cretaceous vertebrates. Here we present two specimens of this assemblage, a plate fragment of the bothremydid turtle Foxemys trabanti, and a partial skull roof of the hylaeochampsid crocodilian, Iharkutosuchus makadii, that exhibit pathological traits, such as shallow and deep pits, bisected pits, and scores on their surface, and in the case of the skull roof, also a hole piercing through the entire bone thickness. Morphological and bone histological features of these pathological traits imply that they probably represent bite marks rather than deformations due to pre-mortem shell diseases, infections or post-mortem invertebrate bioerosion, and microbial activity. Morphological similarities with experimentally investigated crocodilian tooth marks suggest that both elements bear the bite marks of a crocodilian predator with typical conical teeth, possibly the Allodaposuchus-like crocodile, also known from the locality. The inferred tooth marks on the dorsal surface of the Iharkutosuchus skull roof indicate a rarely documented predator–prey interaction between two different crocodilian taxa rather than antagonistic behaviour over common resources. Nevertheless, more comparative studies are needed on different traumatic as well as non-traumatic bone pathologies that may eventuate in bite-mark-like abnormalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-317
Number of pages14
JournalCretaceous Research
Early online date11 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Bone pathology
  • Late Cretaceous
  • Iharkút
  • Bite marks
  • Bone histology
  • Predator–prey interaction
  • Turtles
  • Crocodilians


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