On Croatia’s Brijuni Islands a large number of dinosaur footprints have been discovered. It is believed that dinosaurs strolled Brijuni between 130-100 million years ago.
This week, the Brijuni National Park announced that a total of 24 dinosaur fossils and their sites have been declared a protected part of nature.
With this proclamation, dinosaur fossils became the first protected fossil in Croatia, significant for their rarity, size, appearance, educational and scientific significance. Each newly discovered dinosaur fossil and its site will be declared a protected part of nature in accordance with the Nature Protection Act.
“The territory of Croatia is part of the paleogeographic unit of the Adriatic-Dinaric carbonate platform. During the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, sedimentation occurred on the carbonate platform, ie ecological conditions enabled the survival and development of dinosaur populations. The dinosaur populations that inhabited these areas are specific in the morphology and dimensions of the fossil footprints and in the bones, which differ from simultaneous finds from other parts of the world,” Brijuni NP said.
Footprints suggest the presence of sauropod, theropod, and ornithopod dinosaurs. Fossil footprints and bones have been preserved in Mesozoic limestone deposits. The oldest finds of prints date from the Upper Jurassic period, and the youngest from the Upper Cretaceous. In the area of Croatia, 23 dinosaur footprints were discovered and investigated, and one site with discovered petrified (petrified) bones.
The first find in Croatia originates from Brijuni, dating from 1925, when A. Bachofen – Echt spotted traces of dinosaurs on Cape Ploče on Veliki Brijun.
The second site in Croatia was also discovered on Veliki Brijun, in 1965 on Cape Barban. Today, there is also a Dinosaur Park, available to the public, and a sculpture of a theropod dinosaur.
The third site is at Plješivac / Kamik, where fossils were discovered in 1987, and the fourth is at Trstike / Debela Glava, with a site from 2001. A total of four dinosaur footprints were found at a total of four sites in Veliki Brijun, which inhabited the area of the future Brijuni Islands in the Mesozoic period. Within this broad period the Brijuni dinosaur can be placed in the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years ago).
The discovery of dinosaur fossils in Croatia is possible, but the preservation of such finds is small, so all the findings found so far, but also possibly newly discovered dinosaur fossil finds have significant educational and scientific value. Their remains are the only witnesses to their lives that can be used in the interpretation and education and popularization of geoheritage.