European Dinosaurs: All You Need to Know About Them

A giant T-rex with some pterosaurs on the ground

Source by: National Park Service

If we look back at history, there have been a lot of prehistoric creatures that we, at some point, have wondered about how they would look like in real life. Among these creatures, dinosaurs remain on the top that we have always wished to see somewhere. However, thanks to scientists and paleontologists, millions of fossil sites have been discovered that can depict how these ancient animals used to look.

Recently European fossil sites were unearthed some million years ago by various dinosaur species. However, this is not the first time, and there have been many occasions where once scientists found other dinosaurs from the early cretaceous period and Mesozoic era. Read on to this article to learn how scientists found European dinosaurs and their various fossils.

Dinosaurs in the Continent, including Europe

Two long neck dinosaurs are walking on the ground in a beautiful sun rise background

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The T-Rex, a carnivorous dinosaur that lived in North America, is likely the most well-known dinosaur to have ever existed. North American dinosaurs are the subject of many famous dinosaurs from movies and media discussions. Like North America, Europe was teeming with a diverse ecosystem of dinosaurs, and carnivorous dinosaurs existed in Europe and other continents.

Europe was a large archipelago of unconnected landmasses known as “terranes” during the Jurassic Period. Most of Europe was a subcontinent called Laurasia during the Late Jurassic Period, which spanned from 145 million years ago to 140 million years ago. The Western European terranes split off from North America on the northern supercontinent Pangea and proceeded eastward.

A brown tricerator is walking on the ground

Source by: Christian Science Monitor

Europe turned into an island continent during the Cretaceous Period. Its climate remained warm then, and even some dinosaurs that resembled those seen in North America roamed the earth. There was, however, a wide variety of animals that had diverged from those continents. In this article, we will have a look at the carnivorous dinosaurs that inhabited those islands during the Mesozoic Era, representing Europe.

How Did Scientists Find Fossils Originated from Carnivores?

A giant spinosaurus and other dinosaurs beside the river

Source by: IFLScience

Scientists can infer the nutrition of extinct animals by examining their teeth. Scientists can identify the animal as a carnivore when long, pointed fossilized teeth are discovered. If an animal fossil is found that has flat, smooth teeth; it was probably a herbivore.

What was the Largest Dinosaurs Carnivore in Europe?

A brown torvosaurus is standing on the grass

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The Torvosaurus gurneyi is still the biggest dinosaur in Europe. It is on the list of  Titanosaurs: Top 15 Biggest dinosaurs of the world. Paleontologists once believed the tyrannosaurid genus to be the largest meat-eating animal in Europe. Researchers later discovered that Megalosaurids fared well as Europe split from the wider Pangea. The remains of a 32-foot Torvosaurus were preserved in Portugal’s Lourinha Formation.

They initially believed it belonged to the smaller tanneri species, but they later determined it was actually T. gurneyi, a previously unknown species. Despite being historically larger, tyrannosaurids did not flourish as much as they did in Europe.

The first dinosaurs lived on Pangea, a vast supercontinent. When Pangea was divided into several continents, Europe came along with its fair share of carnivorous dinosaurs. Initially, tiny, some of them, over millions of years, grew into enormous predators.

As a result, North America and Europe both have comparable dinosaur species. The continent split did, however, result in some diversification. Megalosaurids, for instance, became more prevalent in their niches in Europe than in the United States.

How was the Oldest Fossil Site found in Europe?

The fossil site on the ground

Source by: WLOS

All around Europe, but particularly in the United Kingdom or Portugal, dinosaur fossils have been discovered. The Isle of Wight is the finest location to find dinosaur fossils in Europe, despite most being discovered in North America.

The following carnivorous dinosaurs lived in the prehistoric United Kingdom, as shown by fossil evidence: Baryonyx, Becklespinax, Camptosaurus, Eotyrannus, Eustreptospondylus, Hypsilophodon, Iguanodon, Megalosaurus, Proceratosaurus, Metriaconthosaurus, Sarcosaurus, Neovenator, Valdosaurus.

A giant dinosaur fossil in the museum 1

Source by: The New York Times

According to paleontologists, the Jurassic period in Britain was perfect for dinosaur dominance. Even the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex had a few cousins that roamed England.

The Isle of Wight, which generated the most fossils in all of Europe, was where most English dinosaur bones were found. However, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland have produced a lot of fossils. In 1824, the very first dinosaur fossil excavation took place. In Oxfordshire, paleontologists discovered a Megalosaurus fossil.

Over 500 notable dinosaur discoveries have come from Britain overall.

What European Dinosaurs Have Been Discovered at the Fossil Sites?

A giant dinosaur is walking beside the river with some pterosaurs are flying in the sky

Source by: CNN

The subclass of dinosaurs, the Theropoda dinosaurs, are those that consumed human flesh. Theropods were one of the dinosaur species with the greatest diversity. This particular subgroup belonged to the predators the size of chickens that attacked small omnivores or herbivores. It divided into the following clades before evolving into the large predators:


A giant brown baryonyx is standing on the ground 2

Source by: Only Dinosaurs

One of the largest and most distinctive theropods was Baryonyx. It was a carnivorous fish creature that lived in the Cretaceous Period. In the area of its stomach, scientists discovered fish scales.


Some compsognathus are running in the forest

Source by: AZ Animals

The chicken-sized Compsognathus is yet another spectacular carnivorous dinosaur. It acquired the moniker “smallest dinosaur in the world.” Although paleontologists found it in Germany, smaller theropods were also uncovered in Asia and North America. According to paleontologists, they are thought to be T. rex relatives who never developed gigantism.


An archaeopteryx with beautiful feathers is standing on the tree

Source by: AZ Animals

Even though Archaeopteryx was considerably more closely related to the dinosaur end of the evolutionary spectrum than to the birds end, some people who should know better continue to assert that it was the first true bird.


A brown iguanodon is walking on the ground 3

Source by: AZ Animals

Iguanodon, a dinosaur whose fossilized thumb was found in England back in 1822, is the dinosaur that has raised the most questions throughout history. Iguanodon, only the second dinosaur to ever be given a name after Megalosaurus, took at least a century for paleontologists to comprehend it completely.


A giant grey europasaurus is walking on the ground 4

Source by: ThoughtCo

Knowing that Europasaurus was one of the tiniest sauropods ever to wander the earth, measuring just around 10 feet from head to tail and weighing no more than a ton, may or may not make the typical EU citizen feel proud.

FAQs About the European Dinosaurs

Illustration of small long neck dinosaurs in a forest

Source by: Google

Were There Dinosaurs in Every Country?

Every continent on Earth has dinosaur fossils, including Antarctica. However, the majority and the widest diversity of species have been discovered in the deserts and badlands of North America, China, Argentina, and Britain.

What Killed the European Dinosaurs?

At the end of the Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago, an asteroid crashed into the Earth, causing a global extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs and roughly 75% of all life. However, mammals at that time somehow managed to persist, flourish, and take control of the globe.

What is the Oldest Fossil Site in Europe?

According to the experts, the fossil discovered on June 30 at an archaeological site in the Atapuerca mountain range of northern Spain is about 1.4 million years old. The oldest hominid fossil discovered in Europe up to this point was a jawbone discovered at the same location in 2007 and dated to 1.2 million years ago.

How long did a dinosaur live?

Some studies suggest that the largest sauropods might be like elephant today with life span of about 70 or 80 years, such as Apatosaurus and Diplodocus dinosaurs. This is based on comparisons with crocodiles and turtles, which have much slower metabolisms. You can read more about the lifespan of dinosaurs at the blog Dinosaur lifespan: How long did a dinosaur live?

Final Thoughts

Some dinosaurs on the ground with a meteorite in the blue sky

Source by: Google

Hopefully, this article has provided enough information on dinosaurs’ discovery in Europe. We have always wondered how dinosaurs would impact our life if dinosaurs existed in today’s world. If you want a real-life dinosaur sculpture, get yourself one from here now! And if you wanna know more special dinosaurs like these, the blog 10 Dinosaurs with Head Crests That are Fun to Learn About is also a good choice.

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