Palynological and paleobotanical investigation of bonebeds and other strata of the Csehbánya Formation from the vertebrate locality at Iharkút (Bakony Mts, Hungary) reveals well-preserved Santonian palynological assemblages dominated by the Normapolles group, with a minor component consisting of other angiosperm pollen, some gymnosperm pollen, and spores. Eleven species of Normapolles-type pollen grains belonging to seven genera and fruit remains of a new taxon, Sphaeracostata barbackae gen. et sp. nov., are described. The new species is very abundant in the material, represented by ca. 1000 specimens. The genus Caryanthus Friis and an unnamed form previously reported from Haţeg by Lindfors et al. (2010) are also present.
Plants producing Normapolles-type pollen grains diversified during the Late Cretaceous, with a bloom in the Santonian. The palynostratigraphy of the Upper Cretaceous terrestrial sediments in the studied region is based on Normapolles-related species. The studied assemblage is assigned to the Oculopollis zaklinskaiae-Tetracolporopollenites (Brecolpites) globosus Zone (or Zone C) indicating a late Santonian age. Comparison of the Iharkút palynoflora with other known Upper Cretaceous palynofloras of Central Europe shows diachronous occurrence of Normapolles taxa at different geographic localities and warrants further investigation.
The ecological requirements of the amphibian fauna reflect azonal conditions controlled by the availability of water, which is in agreement with the inferred ecological conditions based on the paleobotanical investigations. The fauna is of entirely non-marine character, further supported by isotope studies, in line with our data showing that the palynological samples contain no marine forms.