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Meaning Of Name: Iguana Tooth
Classification: ORNITHOPODA; Iguanodontia; Iguanodontidae
Age: Early Cretaceous (Aptian), Barum Bayan Formation, 120 million years ago
Locality: Gobi Desert, Southwestern Mongolian Peoples' Republic
Skull Cast Size: 90cm in length
The least modified descendants of the fabrosaurid/hypsilophodontids are the iguanodontid dinosaurs. Basically, they differ primarily from their ancestors simply by their larger size and changed proportions. The iguanodontids take their family name from Iguanodon which was one of the first dinosaurs described (in 1825) and scientifically named as well as one of the first to be known from an entire skeleton. First recognised in Europe, it is now known from North America as well as Asia.Iguanodon stood on two hind legs, with three toes on each foot. Its hands had four fingers and a spike-like thumb, which it may have used to defend itself. Its teeth are reminiscent of those in hypsilophodonts, flattened side to side, and leaf-shaped. They probably sliced up plant material like a pair of scissors. Iguanodon orientalis from Mongolia is very similar to iguanodonts from Europe except for its huge, bulbous 'nose.' This hollow structure may have been used as a resonating chamber for making 'dinosaur music! 'Because of the large number of skeletons of these dinosaurs frequently found together and evidence from fossil track ways, palaeontologists think they may have formed herds. Their remains are most often found in sediments deposited in swampy, lake and river edge environments suggesting that is the place they spent most of their time munching on horsetails (like the living Equisetum ), ferns, cycads and various kinds of conifers.