The explosion of Iguanodon at Scientific American


Part I of a three-part series on the 'explosion of Iguanodon' starts today at the Scientific American guest blog. This first part covers the background before looking at Altirhinus, Owenodon, Mantellisaurus and Dollodon - and there's lots more to come. Please head on over, and be sure to do your commenting there, not here. Thanks.

[composite image above includes colour restorations by Steveoc 86 (from Wikipedia) and skull reconstructions by Greg Paul ©, used with permission)].

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My three-part series on the 'explosion of Iguanodon' is now complete and up on the Scientific American guest blog: part I is here, part II here, and part III here. Part III wraps things up and looks briefly at the social inertia that has held back our understanding of Iguanodon sensu lato, and…
One of the strangest Mesozoic dinosaurs ever described has to be the African iguanodontian Lurdusaurus arenatus, named in 1999 for remains from the Lower Cretaceous Elrhaz Formation of Gadoufaoua, Niger (Taquet & Russell 1999). The Elrhaz Formation has also yielded the sail-backed…
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"You must register with Scientific American to comment."

Goddamnit. This is what's kept me from commenting on Brian Switek's new version of Laelaps (over on I just can't stand registering for a million different blog sites. I'll get around to it someday.

Good article! I won't say more before I comment there, though.

By Zach Miller (not verified) on 15 Nov 2010 #permalink

Darren, will you please comment on Witton & Habib's article published today in Plos One re pterosaur flight?

By Lela Criswell (not verified) on 15 Nov 2010 #permalink

Some of you might know that I share an office with Mark Witton (and I know Mike Habib), so to say that I'm familiar with this research and its conclusions would be an understatement. I haven't read the paper yet (only skimmed it), but it looks awesome - tons of information. I am already in strong agreement with their primary contentions (quadrupedal launch, powered flight ability in giant pterosaurs, masses of 200-250 kg for biggest azhdarchids).

As I was driving home from work yesterday, to my surprise, I heard a promo for CBC Radio's flagship newsmagazine show 'As It Happens' that mentioned pterosaurs (as a type of dinosaur [cringe]). I stayed tuned and heard "Doctor Mark Witton" talking about the paper. Sounds so stuffy, which isn't Mark, but he did an excellent job and it was a treat to hear about pterosaurs on a regular news show. I don't know whether this means someone at CBC radio is a fan of pterosaurs or whether it's Mark doing a good job getting the word out, but either way it's good.

Not as much prominence and their amazingness warrants, but it's a start.

By Mike from Ottawa (not verified) on 16 Nov 2010 #permalink

I just can't stand registering for a million different blog sites.



I think that Norman had planned to use the new name Durlstonia for this species, but it looks like Galton beat him into publication.

And Barilium and Dollodon (IIRC) recently received junior synonyms because two papers were in the review process at the same time. What's going on here? Why do the people who work on the former Iguanodon know so little about each other's ongoing work? Why isn't there more coordination?

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 16 Nov 2010 #permalink

Part II is now up here. It covers Barilium and its objective synonym Torilion, Sellacoxa and Kukufeldia. The second objective synonym you're thinking of, David, is for Norman's Hypselospinus (it's Wadhurstia), though Carpenter & Ishida (2010) did also suggest that Dollodon bampingi should be renamed D. seelyi (they're flat wrong on that). All is explained in the Sci Am articles (pt III due to appear today; Nov' 17th).

As for why there isn't more co-ordination, I think that we're seeing - hmm, how should I put it politely? - a 'dash' to get the putative taxa named. Social inertia has definitely held back our understanding of diversity in Iguanodon sensu lato. All of this is discussed in the Sci Am articles (particularly in the third and final part).