Iguanodon is one of the most famous dinosaurs. It was a large herbivore dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous period, about 130 million years ago. It was a large dinosaur measuring 33 feet in length and weighing as much as 5 tons. Iguanodon was able to walk on its two hind legs as well as on all fours. The discovery of bone beds in Belgium and Germany contained the remains of many Iguanodons that had died together at the same time. This is what suggests to researchers that Iguanodon may have been a herd animal. Iguanodon’s jaws contained a battery of teeth, about two inches long and these were found at the back of its mouth. Its snout ended in a blunt, toothless bill covered in horn. Each hand had four fingers, and a large spiked thumb, that may have been used for defense. When attacked, Iguanodon may have used this thumb like a dagger, to stab into the body of its attacker. It may also have been used in fights with other rivals, fighting over territory, food, and mates. Iguanodon was the second dinosaur to be named.
Class Order: Ornithischia
Name Meaning: Iguana Tooth
Period: Early Mid Cretaceous 135 -125 million years ago
Location: North America, Asia and Europe
Length: 30-40 feet (9.15meters)
Weight: 3-4 Tons
When Sir Richard Owen coined the term Dinosauria in 1841, be included only three animals: Megalosaurus, Hylaeosaurus, and Iguanodon. Iguanodon was first known only from several teeth, which were found by Mary Ann Mantell in England. The animal was later described and named by her husband Dr. Gideon Mantell in 1825. It got its name, "iguana tooth," because its tooth looked like the teeth of an iguana. Later (in the 1870s), many complete skeletons of adults and younger animals were found. From all this material, we know a great deal about the behavior, anatomy, and evolution of this important dinosaur.