Bullyland Prehistoric World Europasaurus Dinosaur Model
It is not often a dinosaur gets named after an entire continent but there are three instances that spring to mind. Firstly, there is Antarctosaurus (although its fossils have not been found in Antarctica), secondly, there is Australovenator, whose fossils do come from Australia and now we have Europasaurus, a long-necked dinosaur from Germany.
Fossils from Lower Saxony
A Dutch amateur fossil collector exploring a limestone quarry in Lower Saxony came across the fossilised remains of approximately a dozen dinosaurs in 1998. It was thought that all the dinosaurs represented babies, as the bodies ranged in size from under two meters long to a fraction over six meters in length. These were herbivorous Sauropods, a group of prehistoric animals that includes the mighty Brachiosaurus, classification and Apatosaurus, yet since these fossilized skeletons were so small it was thought this must be the fossilised remains of a crèche of youngsters. Only when a researcher from the University of Bonn, who was conducting research into how quickly baby Sauropods grew, examined the skeletons was it discovered that the fossils of the larger individuals represented adult animals. A new genus of Late Jurassic Sauropod was established and Europasaurus holgeri came into being. This dinosaur was officially named and described in 2006.
A Miniature Sauropod Dinosaur
The fossils of Europasaurus were found in marine deposits. It seems this small member of the Dinosauria, one of the smallest members of the Sauropoda assigned to date, was a dwarf form. Land cut off from the mainland of Europe formed an island chain about 154 million years ago, the islands continued to shrink as the sea level rose and populations of dinosaurs marooned on these shrinking landmasses had to adapt to environments with fewer resources. Over many generations, the huge, long-necked Sauropods that were the ancestors of Europasaurus evolved into miniature versions. Being smaller these dinosaurs needed less food to sustain them, a good thing when on an island with limited food resources.
The Europasaurus Dinosaur Model
The replica represents the known fossil material well. It shows the longer forelimbs compared to the hind-limbs, so typical of a Brachiosaurid Sauropod. The model has been nicely painted with a light tan color on the flanks with darker stripes and spots – excellent camouflage for a forested environment. The dinosaur model measures around twenty-five centimetres in length so it works well to the scale of other, larger figures representing much larger Sauropod dinosaurs.
Domed Skull of a Brachiosaur
The model makers have been careful to depict their dinosaur model with a domed skull, just like other Brachiosaur replicas made by Bullyland of Germany and it is great to see a German dinosaur being made by a German company.
As for being named after a continent, Europasaurus means "Europe's Lizard", a reference to the European fauna known to have existed at the end of the Jurassic geological period. The species name honors the Dutch fossil collector who first found the fossils of this dwarf dinosaur.
All in all a great addition to the Bullyland dinosaur model series and a carefully crafted figure.