Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Iguanodon divided by (at least) 3

As anyone who follows ornithischian classification (all five of you) knows, the famous British ornithopod Iguanodon has been getting the chop in the last few years. One of the first dinosaurs to be found and named, Iguano has picked up dozens of species over the past century or so and, not surprisingly, as studies of iguanodont realtionships got more precise it became necessary to divvy most up into their own genera outside Iguanodon proper. Last year, researcher, artist, and screaming-biplane enthusiast Gregory S. Paul published a paper reviewing the genus and spun off two new genera: Mantellisaurus and Dollodon.

Now, word on the tubes is that David Norman has given a lecture called "Iguanodontians from the Wealden of Britain and Europe" in which he gave his own review of the genus and spun off a few extras. These aren't published yet and far be it from me to facilitate any claim-jumping or Iguano-gate scandals by naming them here. That being said, goss hungry dino fans can find the names in a DML post from today and on a few Spanish-language blogs including As you'll see, one of the new names kind of sounds like it'd be more at home on the periodic table than a list of dinosaur taxa. Ornithischian workers are werid guys.

Norman also discussed Paul's new genera: he thinks Mantellisaurus is valid but reckons Dollodon should be kept as a species of Iguanodon. We'll problably have to wait for all this to hit the press before reaching any kind of consensus, but stay tuned to the Goss to see if anybody weighs in prematurely.

Picture of Dollodon is public domain from Wiki Commons.

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