Iguanodon bernissartensis

  • Europe
  • North America
  • Asia
  • Africa

Iguanodon ( " Iguana tooth " ) is a genus of dinosaur from the group of ornithopods from the Cretaceous and is the largest and most well-known representative of the Iguanodontidae. Due to the relative frequency of findings and an assumed comparable lifestyle is called the Iguanodon and its Hadrosauridae relatives often of the " cows of the dinosaur age ."

Discovery and description

Iguanodon was one of the first dinosaurs ever discovered. Already in 1809, was a stranger in Sussex ( United Kingdom ) a shin bone. 1822 saw the doctor Gideon Mantell several teeth of the animal. For the often -described version, Mantell's wife had found the fossils, while she waited for her husband to return from a patient, there is, however, no evidence. Mantell recognized immediately that it was the tooth of a herbivorous reptile of the Cretaceous period, but published only after extensive research, in 1824 the first description and named the animal Iguanosaurus ( "Iguana lizard" ). The following year, he gave the genus the currently valid name.

The animal was then drawn iguana similar to running on four legs. The acute thumb bone was still set on the nose. Today it is known that the animal usually ran on its two hind legs. The teeth (hence the former, wrong conclusions ) are similar to those of today's iguanas.

The animal is also known for his sharp thumb, which probably served as a weapon. The 8 -meter-long animal was raised 5 m high and weighed up to 4.5 tons. The hands had ever 5 fingers, feet per 3 toes.

Iguanodon was found in Western Europe, Central Europe, Romania, North America, North Africa and Mongolia. In Dorset, United Kingdom, footprints (24 cm wide) have been found. Very aware of the archaeological site is in a coal mine near the Belgian municipality Bernissart where one of 1877 in 322 feet of water hid the remains of 31 individuals until 1878. They were then described by Louis Dollo and reconstructed. In Germany, the bones were found of Iguanodon. During excavations in the district of Brilon Nehden even two skeletons of young animals came to light.

The Nomenclatural type was initially I. Anglicus, but the way was occupied only by a single tooth. Since later no complete skeleton has been found, the ICZN laid the nomenclatural type in 2000 to I. bernissartensis redefined, which is much better documented by the numerous well-preserved Belgian finds. I. bernissartensis is the only certain members of the genus Iguanodon, with all other species, there is great doubt the assignment to this genus.


Model of an Iguanodon with pups in the " Jurassic Park " in Fürth (Bayern )

Hand of Iguanodon

Cast of a skeleton