New light on Iguanodon

The resurgence in palaeobiology in the 1960s, and the new insights into dinosaurs prompted by John Ostrom's important work, provided a spur to reinvestigate some of the earliest discoveries.

Louis Dollo's description of the incredible discoveries of Iguanodon at Bernissart created the image of a giant (5 metres tall, 11 metres long) kangaroo-like creature. It had:

powerful back legs and a massive tail that helped it to balance ... [and] was a plant eater ... it grasped bunches ofleaves with its long tongue, then pulled them into its mouth to be clipped off with the beak.

The picture of Iguanodon was of an animal that was the dinosaur equivalent of a 'tree browser', represented in the recent past by the giant South American ground sloths and today by giraffes. Dollo himself referred to Iguanodon as a 'girafe reptilienne'. Rather surprisingly, nearly every aspect of this vision of Iguanodon is incorrect or seriously misleading.

0 0

Post a comment