Europasaurus

Name: Europasaurus ‭(‬European lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Yu-ro-pa-sore-us.
Named By: Mateus,‭ ‬Laven,‭ & ‬Knötschke vide Sander et al‭ ‬-‭ ‬2006.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Sauropodomorpha,‭ ‬Sauropoda,‭ ‬Macronaria,‭ ‬Camarasauromorpha.
Species: E.‭ ‬holgeri‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: ‭U‬p to‭ ‬6.2‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Germany.
Time period: Kimmeridgian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Many individuals represented by partial remains,‭ ‬including juveniles.

       Europasaurus was a macronarian sauropod which means it was similar in form to such dinosaurs as Camarasaurus and Brachiosaurus.‭ ‬However Europasaurus itself was much smaller than either of these two genera,‭ ‬in fact it is one of the smallest dinosaurs of its kind.‭ ‬The small size of Europasaurus has been interpreted as a case of insular dwarfism,‭ ‬an occurrence where animals grow smaller as to not exhaust the reduced amounts of food present upon isolated island ecosystems.‭ ‬This dwarfism has been confirmed by study of the bones of Europasaurus which show that it grew at a much slower rate than other sauropods,‭ ‬so while it probably matched them in other biological areas,‭ ‬its upper size limit was always capped at a smaller size of what seems to have been around six meters long.
       Europasaurus growing smaller is a reaction to the layout of Europe during the late Jurassic which was more akin to a collection of island chains rather than the single large landmass of today.‭ ‬Europasaurus is also not the only dinosaur that grew smaller than its direct ancestors,‭ ‬with Magyarosaurus also thought to represent a dwarf form living in Europe during the late Cretaceous period.‭ ‬By contrast the largest sauropods such as Argentinosaurus,‭ ‬Brachiosaurus and Sauroposeidon are all genera from continental land masses where there was more room and growth to support their larger forms.

Further reading
- Bone histology indicates insular dwarfism in a new Late Jurassic sauropod dinosaur. - Nature 441:739-741. - P. M. Sander, O. Mateus, T. Laven & N. Knótschke - 2006.
- Cranial anatomy of the Late Jurassic dwarf sauropod Europasaurus holgeri (Dinosauria, Camarasauromorpha): Ontogenetic changes and size dimorphism. - Journal of Systematic Palaeontology: 1–43. - J. S. Marpmann, J. L. Carballido, P. M. Sander & N. Knötschke. - 2014.



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