Temporal Range: Late Jurassic (155-150 Mya)
Length: 6.5 metres
Height: 3 metres
Feeding Type: Herbivore
- Discovery: Europasaurus represents a basal macronarian sauropod that lived during the Late Jurassic period of northern Germany. Remains of both juvenile and adult animals have been recovered from marine sediment in the Langenberg Quarry, situated in Lower Saxony, Germany. The specimens found range from 1.7-6.2 metres in length, and are thought to represent around eleven individual animals. Europasaurus is an interesting species; in that species dwarfism is a derived characteristic. Although Europasaurus is a member of the macronarian sauropod family, it differs from its close relatives (dinosaurs such as Camarasaurus) in that it is a dwarf species; and although anatomically similar to Camarasaurus, it is much smaller in size.
- Statistics: A full grown Europasaurus would have been one of the smallest sauropods to have ever existed. An adult Europasaurus would have grown to maximum lengths of around 6.5 metres and weighed only about 700kg.
- Description: The small size of Europasaurus has been interpreted as a case of insular dwarfism, an occurrence where animals grow smaller so as to not exhaust the reduced amounts of food present within their unique ecosystem. It is thought that Europasaurus would have ‘dwarfed rapidly’ after immigrating to a paleo-island situated within the Lower Saxony basin. The largest of these islands would have been less than 2,000 square kilometres in size and therefore would not have been able to support a sufficient food supply for a species of ‘normal-sized’ sauropods. This dwarfism has been confirmed by the study of Europasaurus bones which show that it grew at a much slower rate than other sauropod dinosaurs, so while it probably matched them in terms of anatomy, its upper size limit was capped at a smaller size.