Croatia and its Importance to Palaeontology

Today, July 1st, marks the official entry of Croatia into the European Union.  Croatia becomes the 28th country to join and from a geologist’s perspective this part of Europe that borders Hungary in the north east, Slovenia in the west, Serbia to the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the south is important as a result of its deep caves and limestone formations.  Part of the Eurasian plate, this landmass which also borders the Adriatic Sea is important to anthropalaeontologists as it is the site of a number of important Neanderthal fossil finds.


Croatia is mentioned in four previous Everything Dinosaur blog articles, mostly for important discoveries that have added to our knowledge of the Neanderthals.  For example, last month team members wrote an article about the first evidence of bone cancer being found in a rib bone from a Neanderthal.  This fossilised bone was part of a number of fossils excavated from a cave location in Krapina.

To read more about this discovery: Neanderthal Rib Bone Shows Signs of Bone Cancer.

Neanderthal Fossils

The town of Krapina, in the north of Croatia is one of the most significant locations for Neanderthal fossils in the whole of Europe.  In 1899, several hundred fossilised bones and artefacts were found on a hillside overlooking the town.  Krapina even has its own museum dedicated to the Neanderthals.  It showcases some of the rare fossils that have been discovered in the area, there is an exhibit featuring a mock up of a Neanderthal inhabited cave and the museum also houses a number of fossils of some of the animals these people used to hunt, including specimens of prehistoric rhinos.

A Model of a Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis)

Early resident of Croatia.

Early resident of Croatia.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Fossil Evidence

The fossil evidence indicates that northern Croatia was home to a number of early human cultures as well as the Neanderthals, a world dominated by large prehistoric beasts such as Lions, Woolly Rhinos and Cave Bears.   Everything Dinosaur has a number of customers in Croatia, changes have already been made on the company’s website to accommodate Croatia’s membership of the European Union.  The country has made a significant contribution to the study of early humans and the museum in Krapina houses one of the best collections of Neanderthal fossils to be found in the whole of the European Union.

Everything Dinosaur regularly sends parcels to Croatia and other European countries, to view the extensive range of dinosaur models and prehistoric animal toys available, including replicas of Neanderthals: Visit Everything Dinosaur.

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