Abundant and well-preserved fossil vertebrate tracks are exposed on the topmost bedding planes of the Miocene river bank sandstone. Preservation of the tracks has been attributed to a volcanic activity that instantly covered the paleosurface.
The extension of the known area with footprints explored at Ipolytarnóc in the last hundred years exceeds 1500 sq. m. The whole site, which is 50-100 times larger and is mostly continuous, can only be explored if, after removing the rhyolite tuff bed, the surface containing the footprints can be preserved from weathering. Therefore, scientific exploration only takes place gradually, following protective measures.
Analysis of the footprints already started on discovery, and it was known a hundred years ago that there were tracks of rhinoceroses, ungulates and birds.
The first scientific paper came out in 1935, in a book by Othenio Abel(Abel, 1935), who assumed to have identified footprints of a rhinoceros, a proboscidean, cervids, an ancestral triungulate horse, a large carnivore as well as birds and illustrated them with photographs. Following the studies of Tasnádi, the ’Ipolytarnóc’ monograph of Geologica Hungarica series Palaeontologica was issued in 1985, for the RCMNS congress, where L. Kordos identified 11 animal species based on all footprint findings known at the time. The taxonomic analysis of the Ipolytarnóc footprints was carried out simultaneously, and in competition, by the Hungarian Kordos (1985) and the Soviet Vialov (1985, 1986). Based on the priorities, 11 animal species could be identified, all of which were new to science.
But in 2013 new discoveries showed out the existence of wide-spread wetland habitats with the presence of amphibians and reptiles. The number of vertebrate taxa is more than 30 now.