Hateg island

During the Late Cretaceous period, roughly 70 million years ago, Hațeg Island stood as a vibrant island in the Tethys Sea, located in what is now western Romania.


  • Size: Imagine an island roughly the size of Hokkaido, Japan, or Ireland, offering a diverse landscape.
  • Topography: Rolling hills, lush valleys, and freshwater bodies like lakes and rivers dotted the island.
  • Climate: Subtropical, with warm temperatures and abundant rainfall, creating a perfect haven for various life forms.


  • Lush ferns, cycads (seed cones), and flowering plants thrived, blanketing the island in a verdant tapestry.
  • Coniferous forests, similar to modern pines, may have existed in higher elevations.

Mostly fossil polen was used to identify the plants but no exact species is known, the plant reconstructed here are based on similar species


  • Dinosaurs: Hațeg Island is famous for its dwarf dinosaurs, smaller versions of their mainland relatives. This phenomenon, called island dwarfism, is attributed to limited resources and isolation.
    • Theropods, like the raptor Balaur bondoc and the smaller Zalmoxes robustus, were agile predators.
    • Sauropods, the giants of the dinosaur world, had smaller representatives here, like Magyarosaurus dacus and Paludititan nalatzensis.
    • Ornithischians, the bird-hipped dinosaurs, were present in various forms, including the herbivorous Rhabdodon Priscus.
  • Pterosaurs were flying reptiles that dominated the skies as aerial predators.
  • Other animals: Lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and early mammals also shared the island ecosystem.


  • Island Isolation: Separated from the mainland, Hațeg Island fostered a unique ecosystem where evolution took a different path compared to continental areas.
  • Dwarfism: The limited resources on the island led to the evolution of smaller-bodied dinosaurs, a fascinating adaptation to the environment.

Hațeg Island serves as a valuable window into island life during the dinosaur era, offering insights into the interplay between environment, isolation, and evolution.