Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
|A restoration of Iguanodon bernissartensis|
| †Iguanodon bernissartensis|
Iguanodon (i·guan·o·don) is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that lived from about 139-138 million years ago, from the early to late Cretaceous period. Iguanodon was the second dinosaur ever discovered and it was one of the first dinosaurs to be named, preceded only by Megalosaurus. Iguanodon's name means "iguana tooth" due to its iguana-like teeth. It was the largest of its kind.
It lived in Antartica, North Africa, Mongolia and Europe, mainly in England in the UK and Belgium.
Discovery and history
Classification and evolution
When the first Iguanodon skeleton was discovered it 1822, was believed to walk much like an iguana, on all four legs. Its thumb spike was believed to be a horn on its head (only one thumb spike was found). At one point it was also thought to have lived in trees, but this has been long since proven completly wrong.
One of the more notable characteristics of the Iguanodon species is its "thumbs". Instead of a thumb it had a large spike that paleontologists believed Iguanodons used for defensive purposes, but could have also been used for getting food. The "pinky" finger of an Iguanodon is believed to have acted as its thumb.
Palentologists belive that Iguanodon may have traveled in herds. In large herds of Iguanodons and other dinosaurs, mainly the ankylosaur family, would join in the migrations to gain protection to the herd as a whole, and also additionally providing an escort. It was mostly quadropedic, but could have stood up on its hind legs to reach tall plants or to run away quickly. They didn't have too flat of bills or like their hadrosaur descendents, but still had many teeth within its cheeked jaws and could chew tough food pretty easily. Iguanodon was perhaps the most successful dinosaur species, with it and its relatives being found on nearly every continent.
Iguanodon has been featured in several dinosaur-related merchandise ever since the early 1990s, reaching high popularity ever since the early 2000s.
- An animated skeleton of Iguanodon was featured in one of the four episodes of the 1992 four part PBS documentary The Dinosaurs!. It was seen in the 1st episode "The Monsters Emerge.", where the skeleton of Iguanodon was changing its position and posture, and began to walk.
- Iguanodon first had its initial major appearance in the famous 1999 Walking with Dinosaurs documentary, and was shown to have travelled in herds with Polacanthus in North America (this Iguanodon species has since been assigned to the newer Dakotadon genus). European variants appear in England and are attacked by a pack of carnivorous Utahraptor, and one of them was killed in the process.
- Iguanodon from South America also appear in the first episode of the Chased By Dinosaurs special from 2002, featuring Nigel Marven. Since then, this Iguanodon species has been reassigned to Macrogryphosaurus.
- Iguanodon appear in various The Land Before Time films and TV series episodes, mostly as either minor or background characters, starting with 1995's The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving.
- An Iguanodon named Aladar who was raised by lemurs was the main character in the 2000 Disney film, Dinosaur. This film was by far Iguanodon's most popular appearance to date. Aladar was attacked by a Carnotaurus and a pack of Velociraptor, before meeting a herd of Iguanodon and other animals trying to get to a nesting ground valley. Another Iguanodon in the movie was a female who later became Aladar's mate named Neera, her brother named Kron, and the anti-hero named Bruton and Aladdar's true mother.
- Iguanodon is one of the statues of dinosaurs in the Crystal Gardens in England.
- It appears in 2001's Jurassic Park III: Park Builder game.
- Iguanodon was planned to appear in the 2003 game Jurassic Park Operation Genesis. For unknown reasons, the development of Iguanodon was terminated. The CD-ROM contains two files containing the parameters of the dinosaur.
- It also featured in an episode of 2003's Dinosaur Planet, where they were attacked by Pyroraptor, Tarascosaurus, and their dwarf forms on the Hateg island. In reality, this was not actually an Iguanodon, but another genus - Rhabdodon.
- An Iguanodon named Iggy appeared in a few episodes of Dinosaur Train.
- Iguanodon are seen in the 2009 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs film and video game.
- A skeleton of Iguanodon was featured in David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive.
- It appears in Jurassic Park Builder where while it has cheeks, it lacks its classic thumb claw and the head shape is a bit off.
- Iguanodon is a tamable dinosaur in 2015's ARK: Survival Evolved.
- Iguanodon appears in Jurassic World: Alive.
- Iguanodon is an unlockable dinosaur in Jurassic World Evolution, added in the Cretaceous Dinosaur Pack DLC released on December 13, 2018. Its appearance in the game is incredibly accurate (in fact it's one of the most accurate appearances in a video game yet), and is the only ornithopod in the game so far that is capable of defending itself against small and medium carnivores.
- In Papua New Guinea, people have said a few remaining living Iguanodon-like dinosaurs are still alive today, but there is no evidence to confirm its existence.