Hațeg Island was a large offshore island in the Tethys Sea during the late Cretaceous. It was in an area now around modern-day Hațeg, Hunedoara County, Romania. Upper Cretaceous fossils of small-sized dinosaurs have been found in the former island's rocks.
The island was formed mainly by tectonic uplift during the early Alpine orogeny towards the end of the Cretaceous. There is no real present-day analog, but the island of Hainan (off the coast of China) is perhaps closest as regards climate, geology and topography, though still not a particularly good match. The vegetation, for example, was quite distinct from today, as was the fauna.
Hungarian paleontologist Franz Nopcsa (1877–1933) had the idea that "limited resources" found on the island often have an effect of "reducing the size of animals" over the generations, producing a localized form of dwarfism. Nopcsa's theory of island dwarfism – also known as the "island rule" – is today widely accepted.
References[change | change source]
- Benton M.J. et al 2010. Dinosaurs and the island rule: the dwarfed dinosaurs from Haţeg Island. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 293(3-4): 438–454. 
- Csikia Z. & M.J. Benton 2010.. "An island of dwarfs — reconstructing the late Cretaceous Hațeg palaeoecosystem". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 293 (3–4): 265–270. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.05.032.
- Grigorescu, D. (2005). "Rediscovery of a 'forgotten land': The last three decades of research on the dinosaur-bearing deposits from the Hațeg Basin". Acta Palaeontologica Romaniae 5: 191–204.
- Csiki-Sava Z. et al 2015. The east side story – the Transylvanian latest Cretaceous continental vertebrate record and its implications for understanding Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary events. Cretaceous Research 57 (1) 662–698. 
- Dyke, Gareth 2011. The dinosaur baron of Transylvania. Scientific American, 305. 4, pp. 81–83.