Iguanodon Put Back Together Piece by Piece

The Isle of Wight off Britain’s south coast is one of the most important locations in the world for Early Cretaceous fossils, particularly Dinosauria.  The Wealden Formation of rocks is exposed in the coastal cliffs on the Isle of Wight and they are famous for the abundance and diversity of vertebrate fossils found.  A team of scientists from the Dinosaur museum on the island have been given the task of assembling the backbone of an iguanodontid that has been eroding out of a cliff face.

A Model of the Head of an Iguanodon

Scale model of an Iguanodon. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur


Soon visitors to the museum will be able to observe the scientists as they painstakingly rebuild the back bone of this 9-metre-long, Cretaceous herbivore, that roamed the Earth approximately 130 million years ago.  Local fossil hunter Nick Chase, first uncovered part of the skeleton, having noticed some fossil bones weathering out of a cliff face.  Over several years he returned to the site to retrieve more of the skeleton as time and tide exposed the remains of this dinosaur.

The preparation work on these fossils is estimated to take around 12 months to complete, before the exhibit can be put on permanent display.  Like many dinosaur skeletons, this specimen has a nick name, it has been called “Big Iggy”.

Discovering an Iguanodontid

Commenting on his discovery, which he has donated to the museum, Nick said:

“Once I realised that there was something significant here,it was a matter of going down to the site basically, every tide at least once a day.”

He went on to add:

“As the sea washed away the rockfall, more and more bits would be uncovered all the time.  It is not uncommon to find bits and pieces of dinosaur skeletons along this coast but to find a substantial portion of one is much rarer.”

A number of species of Iguanodon have been identified, from the estimated size of this particular specimen it is likely to be an I. bernissartensis one of the largest types of Iguanodon known.

A Scale Drawing of an Iguanodon

Iguanodon scale drawing.  A drawing of an iguanodontid.
A drawing of Iguanodon. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur

Once the fossils have been prepared this specimen will take its place amongst the many other fascinating dinosaur fossils found on the island and on display at the museum.

To view a model of an Iguanodon and replicas of other ornithischian dinosaurs, we suggest readers take a look at the CollectA Prehistoric Life model range: CollectA Prehistoric Life Age of Dinosaurs Models.