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Iguanodon Page

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Iguanodons existed during the MESOZOIC - CRETACEOUS era, 65 - 145 million years ago. The Iguanodons died out 20 million years later.

The world looked very different from today, there were 2 Super continents known as Laurasia and Gondwana. These were already on the move before the Cretaceous and continued through it, by the end of the Cretaceous the continents looked roughly as those we recognise today. The climate was thought to be warm with wet and dry seasons. The Iguanodon (pronounced IG-WAN-O-DON) was named after the shape of it's tooth being very much like those of a modern day reptile, the Iguana. DON as in 'dontid' meaning tooth.

It's length was thought to average 10m and it's height to be over 5m. Although the Iguanodon was a sturdy beast it's average speed has been estimated at 35km/hour when pursued by an attacker, obviously this was not their defense since predators ran alot faster.
The new thinking of whether the Iguanodon was bi-pedal or quadrapedal has inclined towards the idea that it spent most of it's time on two feet (bi-pedal) browsing from fern to fern whilst eating. Running would have taken place on four. The taller trees were accessible by rearing up on two feet.
It is also thought that when running, the front hands would infact become hoof-like thus enabling a jumping movement (much like that of a Kangaroo).

The Iguanodon possessed a very lethal weapon as one of it's hand elements, a spike. Infact a thumb spike would not only assist it by stabbing at the preditor but as extra grip on slippery surfaces such as clay and even to assist in mating.

The Iguanodon was a plant eater or Herbivore, its teeth were perfectly shaped for chewing up leaves and fern like plants. Its pre-dentary or beak enabled it to nip off fronds and leaves by slicing.

The History of the first Iguanodon found in England.

Mrs Mary Ann Mantell found some Iguanodon remains in Sussex, England in 1822. The bones were found amongst some stones workmen were using to mend holes in the road. Believing these bones to be very bazarre she took them to her husband Gideon Mantell(a doctor) to examine. However he couldn't identify them. He sought out the source for these bones and was pointed in the direction of the quarry that supplied the stones for the workmen. He soon found a site with more evidence and concluded that these were infact the remmains of a prehistoric creature. In conclusion Gideon Mantell announced that the teeth were similar to those of an Iguanas and so had the privilege of naming it Iguanodon, whilst Sir Richard Owen thought up the word 'Dinosaur' to represent it's heritage. Dinosaur meaning terrible lizard.

Sir Richard Owen celebrated the new creature by giving a dinner party, on New Year's eve, inside a half built model of an Iguanodon, as it was envisioned then.

Meanwhile, across the sea...

In 1878 miners found remains of 29 Iguanodons in Bernissart, Belgium 322m below ground in a mine. These specimens were originally thought to have died all at the same time during some freak and devastating flood. However it has since been realised that the point at which the skeletons collected was merely where the bodies had been deposited by a river over some length of time, in other words they had died by causes other than that of drowning.

The Iguanodontid family