Iguanodon

Food of the Iguanodon

Dr. Mantell, from the examination of the anterior part of the right side of the lower jaw of an Iguanodon discovered in a quarry in Tilgate Forest, Sussex, has detected an extraordinary deviation from all known types of reptilian organisation, and which could not have been predicated; namely, that this colossal reptile, which equalled in bulk the gigantic Edentata of South America, and like them was destined to obtain support from comminuted vegetable substances, was also furnished with a large prehensile tongue and fleshy lips, to serve as instruments for seizing and cropping the foliage and branches of trees; while the arrangement of the teeth as in the ruminants, and their internal structure, which resembles that of the molars of the sloth tribe in the vascularity of the dentine, indicate adaptations for the same purpose.

Among the physiological phenomena revealed by paleontology, there is not a more remarkable one than this modification of the type of organisation peculiar to the class of reptiles to meet the conditions required by the economy of a lizard placed under similar physical relations; and destined to effect the same general purpose in the scheme of nature as the colossal Edentata of former ages and the large herbivorous mammalia of our own times.