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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/367

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THE IGUANODON.

thighs "must have supported the heavy body in a manner like that of the large pachyderms," and states that the animal stood higher on its legs than any existing saurian, and was terrestrial in its habits. Dr. Mantell was of the opinion that the iguanodon had a nasal integumental horn. We reproduce in Fig. 3 a picture of the reptile restored, according to the ideas prevailing among geologists ten years ago, in contrast with a view of the actual skeleton set up in the museum at Brussels, as an illustration of the danger of making too hasty generalizations from too few or too imperfectly understood data.

PSM V24 D367 Iguanodon.jpg
Fig. 3.—Iguanodon.

A new and very considerable deposit of remains of iguanodons, from one of the nearly complete skeletons of which the present reconstruction of the animal has been made, was discovered in 1878 at the coal-mines of Bernissart, between Mons and Tournay, in Belgium, close to the French frontier. They occur there, like the English fossils, in the Wealden or lower cretaceous strata, or morts-terrains (dead layers), as the workmen call them, that overlie the coal-beds, and which have to be penetrated for about twelve hundred feet before the coal is reached. The discovery was made by M. Fages, director-general of the Bernissart Mining Company, and specimens of the bones were sent to Professor P. J. Van Beneden, who identified them as belonging to the iguanodon. The task of removing the fossils was attended with much difficulty, for they were charged with iron pyrites, the decomposition of which caused them to crumble as soon as they were exposed to the air. It was undertaken and accomplished successfully by M. Depauw, superintendent of the workshops of the museum at Brussels. He adopted the habits of the miners, and spent three years in the excavations, personally superintending the removal of every specimen. By subjecting them to a gelatine-bath and enveloping every piece, previous to removal, with a casing of plaster, he got them all out whole. The remains were then again examined by Pro-