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November 7, 2013
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Europasaurus holgeri skeletal by Paleo-King Europasaurus holgeri skeletal by Paleo-King
Europasaurus holgeri

Etymology: "Holger's European lizard"

Time horizon: Late Jurassic, Kimmeridgian epoch (~155 mya)

Length: 7m (23 ft.), perhaps more depending on maturity.

Probable mass: 600-700kg, perhaps more depending on maturity.

YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE OF THESE CUTE BEASTS ON YOUR WALL... BUY YOUR PRINT TODAY! paleo-king.deviantart.com/art/…

The amazing dwarf brachiosaur (and cutest thing you've ever seen on four legs), Europasaurus holgeri. This animal, a descendant of much larger mainland European brachiosaurs, inhabited a small island which is now the province of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) in Germany. At this time, central and northern Europe was a scattered archipelago of small islands, inhabited by far more ocean-hunting pterosaurs and primitive birds than large dinosaurs. While Archaeopteryx was taking flight and Pterodactylus was challenging the maritime air supremacy of the rhamphorhynchoids, dinosaurs stranded on the islands rapidly evolved into smaller sizes to cope with the limited food resources. Europasaurus remains to this day the largest known dinosaur native to Germany.

A number of good skeletons from the original dig site, some still awaiting description, are known of Europasaurus, and may show some measure of sexual dimorphism in the skulls though the postcranial remains don't appear to be dimorphic to any noticeable degree. The skull here is based on the bulbous-crested "male" morphs which so far have not been used in other reconstructions. The rest of the skeleton is the holotype material, which has traditionally been associated with a "female" skull, which has been ubiquitously cast many times over, perpetuating the myth that all Europasaurus skulls were more or less identical.

Europasaurus was a basal member of brachiosauridae, closely related to Lapparentosaurus and somewhat more derived than the atlasaurines. How its giant ancestors arrived in Niedersachsen is still a mystery.

References:

Sander, P. M., Mateus, O., Laven, T., Knötschke, N. 2006. Bone histology indicates insular dwarfism in a new Late Jurassic sauropod dinosaur. Nature 441: 739-741.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love Europasaurus <3
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Me too... especially when it's drawn correctly :) So cute.
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So cute.
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner May 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Apparently full-adult specimens have been recovered, they are ~2.5 meters at the shoulder and ~10 meters long.

www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10…
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Link is broken. :(
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Probably because I am getting access through my university… 

Here is the relevant image anyway.

oi62.tinypic.com/2njvtzp.jpg
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow nice. Can you email me the paper?
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner May 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sure!
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner May 18, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Ok. email is Paleo_King@hotmail.com
Can't wait. This sounds fun.
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:iconrandomdinos:
randomdinos Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014
You'd imagine that this sauropod's head shrinks as the postcranial skeleton does, but no... :D
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, it's definitely got a big head for its body size. Almost looks like baby sauropod proportions, although this animal is close to adult size. A number of sauropods have "oversized" heads, though none with proportions like Europasaurus.

"Omeisaurus" tianfuensis has a pretty oversize head considering how thin its neck is.
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:iconelsqiubbonator:
ElSqiubbonator Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014
Funny how we call it a small sauropod, but today it would be a huge animal.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, it's a bit odd how even dinosaur dwarfs were giants by our standards. Somewhere between a draft horse and an elephant!
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:iconbrolyeuphyfusion9500:
Quite a bit taller than what I've usually seen of it. I never suspected that Europasaurus would have been tall enough to look down on Tyrannosaurus-sized theropods!
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:icondinodanthetrainman:
dinodanthetrainman Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Small sauropods are so cute I want one to ride in the parade! :)
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:icongrroselli:
grroselli Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013
woah. i thought Germany was only an archipelago during the jurrasic. are you telling me that even during the early cretaceous, time of the mega dinosaurs, the largest species only measured about 25-30 ft?
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I don't know much about Germany during the Cretaceous - archipelago or continental land. But I don't know of too many dinosaurs from Germany during that time. Parts of it may have still been underwater. By the cenozoic it was dry land, as the Messel pit proves.

Europasaurus was a Jurassic dinosaur so that's what I focused on here. However the Cretaceous did have some dinosaurs in other parts of Europe, mainly in Romania. There the dwarf sauropods were titanosaurs not much bigger than Europasaurus (Magyarosaurus and Paludititan were the main ones). Most of Europe in the Cretaceous continued to be small islands with dwarf dinosaurs. The ornithopods were small too, like Rhabdodon and Tethyshadros.
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:iconhyrotrioskjan:
Hyrotrioskjan Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
Fantastic, I hoped for this skeletal drawing from you and (it's one of my favorite sauropods) some informations are really new to me, it's nice to have such a updated reconstruction before I'm beginning my Europasaurus picture =)
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
this is my hoooorse my hoooorse is amaaaziiing XD
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:iconfragillimus335:
Fragillimus335 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Must...ride...minisauropod.
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:icondinobirdman:
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Student Artist
:lol:
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:iconkazuma27:
Kazuma27 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What a long neck he has, but i guess it's standard in terms of proportions considering he's a brachiosaurid.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
The neck is indeed very long, most artists draw it too short. The middle vertebra C10 is very elongated, and the other mid-cervicals (which are missing in the holotype) probably were too. Most other paleoartists make the mistake of just having C10 long but all the vertebrae surrounding it mysteriously very short, which is rather absurd considering no other brachiosaur has only a single elongated neck vertebra (most also blindly repeat the authors' mistake of drawing a droopy neck and an artificial downcurve of the dorsals in the shoulder region, inventing a "hump"  that never existed). There's also an even smaller dwarf brachiosaur known from Croatia which has long neck vertebrae very similar in proportions to those of Giraffatitan.... so even dwarf brachiosaurs did not have what we might think of as typical "dwarf proportions". Ironically the family oddball Atlasaurus has a short neck and it's over 50 feet long.

References:

Sander, P. M., Mateus, O., Laven, T., Knötschke, N. 2006. Bone histology indicates insular dwarfism in a new Late Jurassic sauropod dinosaur. Nature 441: 739-741.
Reply
:icondinodrawer:
DiNoDrAwEr Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Is there a description of this Croatian dwarf brachiosaur? I mean does it already have a scientific name?
I'm just asking 'cause I never heard of it before.
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:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
There's no scientific name but there is a paper by Dalla Vecchia (1998) on this animal. Pictures and some details can be found here: svpow.com/2009/08/02/little-bi… It's tiny for a sauropod, basically the size of a black bear. With a really long neck. It make even giraffes look huge by comparison. The material comprises a cervical vertebra, and the back end of the one before it. "Note also that there is no sign of a neurocentral suture, so the critter was probably at least half grown and might have been full grown."
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:icondinodrawer:
DiNoDrAwEr Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Great, thank you!
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:iconkazuma27:
Kazuma27 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, strange indeed!
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