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Iguanodon

Temporal range: Early Cretaceous to Late Holocene, 126–0 Ma

Ig

Reconstruction of Iguanodon.

Scientific classification

[1]

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
clade: <span class="clade" style="white-space:nowrap;">Dinosauria</span>
Order: Ornithischia
clade: <span class="clade" style="white-space:nowrap;">Ornithopoda</span>
clade: <span class="clade" style="white-space:nowrap;">Hadrosauriformes</span>
Superfamily: IguanodontoideaCope, 1869
Family: IguanodontidaeCope, 1869
Genus: IguanodonMantell, 1825
Species: I. Bernissartensis
Binomial name
Iguanodon Bernissartensis

Boulenger, 1881 (neotype)

Iguanodon ( /ɨˈɡwɑːnədɒn/ i-gwah-nə-don; meaning "iguana-tooth") is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that existed roughly halfway between the first of the swift bipedal hypsilophodontids of the mid-Jurassic and the ornithopods' culmination in the duck-billed dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous. While many species have been classified in the genus Iguanodon, dating from the late Jurassic Period to the late Cretaceous Period of Asia, Europe, and North America, research in the first decade of the 21st century suggests that there is only one well-substantiated species: I. bernissartensis, which lived from the late Barremian to the earliest Aptian ages[1] (Early Cretaceous) in Belgium, Sweden and possibly elsewhere in Europe, between about 126 and 125 million years ago. Iguanodon were large, bulky herbivores. Distinctive features include large thumb spikes, which were possibly used for defence against predators, combined with long prehensile fifth fingers able to forage for food.

Named in 1825 by English geologist Gideon Mantell, Iguanodon was the second type of dinosaur formally named, after Megalosaurus. Together with Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus, it was one of the three genera originally used to define Dinosauria. The genus Iguanodon belongs to the larger group Iguanodontia, along with the duck-billed hadrosaurs. The taxonomy of this genus continues to be a topic of study as new species are named or long-standing ones reassigned to other genera.

Scientific understanding of Iguanodon has evolved over time as new information has been obtained from fossils. The numerous specimens of this genus, including nearly complete skeletons from two well-known bonebeds, have allowed researchers to make informed hypotheses regarding many aspects of the living animal, including feeding, movement, and social behaviour. As one of the first scientifically well-known dinosaurs, Iguanodon has occupied a small but notable place in the public's perception of dinosaurs, its artistic representation changing significantly in response to new interpretations of its remains.

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