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The Iguanodon

The Iguanodon

Maidstone's Dinosaur

Maidstone Iguanodon

The Iguanodon has come to be synonymous with Maidstone ever since the remains of one of the species were discovered during a quarry excavation on Queen's Road in 1834.

The fossil unearthed was huge and it was pretty obvious that the bone was from an animal of tremendous size.

The bone, as it turned out after further research and investigation, was one piece of a partial skeleton, that of an Iguanodon.

Iguanodons were large, bulky herbivores that existed between 126 and 125 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period, and were known to have a large, tall but narrow skull with toothless beaks.

The name Iguanodon means iguana-tooth, noting the similarity of the dinosaur’s jaw and teeth to that of the iguana.

The Iguanodon was about 5 metres tall and about 11 metres long, weighing up to four or five tons with powerful back legs and a massive tail to help it balance.

The other distinctive features of the Iguanodon are the large thumb spikes, used for self-defence, and long prehensile fingers, perfect for foraging food.

An internationally significant find, the Maidstone Iguanodon fossils proved crucial to paleontological understanding of the species’ skeleton, size and how the bones of an Iguanodon fitted together.

Previously, the Iguanodon was believed to be much smaller and more like an iguana.

The actual bones of the Maidstone Iguanodon are housed in the Natural History Museum, but a cast of the bones, named 'Iggy', can be seen on display at Maidstone Museum in the Kent Earth Heritage Gallery as part of a permanent exhibit. 

Such was the importance of the find, and so entwined in Maidstone's history has the Iguanodon become, that in 1946 Maidstone Borough Council applied to have the dinosaur added to the Coat of Arms and the request was approved by the Garter Principal King of Arms.

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