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Age of Dinosaurs

Jurassic Europe

A map of Jurassic Europe A map of Jurassic Europe Europe in the Jurassic Period was no more than a collection of islands. Much of what is now dry land was covered by shallow seas, salty lagoons, freshwater lakes and marshes. Only a few areas, such as present-day Scotland, France and Spain, lay above the sea. These subtropical islands were low-lying and dry with low shrubs and other desert vegetation. The conditions did not suit many dinosaurs, tending to favour very small ones, such as Compsognathus, which could survive on insects and small lizards. This habitat was home for another small reptile, one that could be described both as a dinosaur and a bird: Archaeopteryx


A scene in Europe during the late JurassicA scene in Europe during the late JurassicRoaming larger European islands during the late Jurassic Period, Megalosaurus hunted stegosaurs and sauropods. A powerful, 9-metre-long (30-foot) carnivore, it could have attacked even the largest sauropods, such as Cetiosaurus, 15 metres (50 feet) in length, as well as easily picking off the much smaller plant-eater, Echinodon. It is also likely that it scavenged the prey of others.

Consultant: Chris Jarvis

Megalosaurus was the first dinosaur ever described, before the term "dinosaur" was even invented. It is mentioned by name in Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House, published in 1852–3.

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