STL Science Center

STL Science Center

06 July 2011

Iguanodon bernissartensis

The best known species of Iguanodon is Iguanodon bernissartensis. This species was named in 1881 by George Albert Boulenger, I. bernissartensis became the neotype, a specimen used in preference over the original or holotype of a specimen, of Iguanodon though other species had been found, named, and described as early as 1822. Gideon Mantell, being the first to do all three with his found specimen which was mostly fossilized teeth found by his wife while they visited a patient supposedly, ran into controversy at the hands of William Buckland who refused to believe that these teeth were anything more than fish teeth. As we know, Iguanodon does exist and Mantell was correct, not Buckland. However, it is Boulenger's I. bernissartensis and not Mantell's Iguanodon. Species names for a variety of Iguanodon are nonexistent, antiquated, have been reassigned- such as Dollodon-or just not at all used due to disputes over legitimacy of belonging to the Iguanodontidae. I. bernissartensis comes from a coal mine in Belgium which has proved to be a very wealthy fossil mine as well with at least 38 individuals unearthed.

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