Thursday, November 24, 2011

An oddball Iguanodon

Here's a curiosity from my local, small town museum. East Grinstead (a town I live but a couple of miles away from) is located on a ridge in the Weald, a large area in the South East of England where Cretaceous formations have been exposed. A number of important dinosaur fossils have been unearthed here, including Mantell's "Iguanodon anglicus", the original Iguanodon type species (the type is now the Belgian Iguanodon bernissartensis) and Baryonyx walkeri.

It's only natural for any local museum to trumpet dinosaur discoveries made in the vicinity (even if they were, in fact, made some miles away), which the museum have done by putting the cast of what they claim is an Iguanodon footprint on show. Of course, there's no way of telling if an Iguanodon species really did make the footprint, but given its age it's pretty safe to say that an iguanodont did. In any case, they also have a weird, weird Iguanodon statue on show that as far as I'm aware is completely unique. Check it out.

One of my favourite features of this statue is the little man included for scale, wearing as he does a double-breasted jacket, waistcoat, flat cap and handsome moustache (although he could do with a dusting).

Exactly how old it is I don't know, but judging by the attire of the tiny man and the dinosaur's bizarre anatomy it must date back at least 50 or 60 years. Perhaps the strangest part is the head, with its crazy-looking, bulging eyeballs and what appear to be tiny, fleshy ears.

Strange stuff, but a lovely little bit of vintage art all the same. The photo below shows the statue in the context of the museum's display, with the footprint cast alongside. Also worthy of note is that "Iggy" (yeah, really) is the museum's mascot. If you ever visit the town for whatever reason (which is pretty unlikely, granted, unless you live nearby or are a...shudder...Scientologist) entry to the museum is free, but do check the opening hours!


  1. I confess I had imagined something near life size (or at any rate pretty big) when I first read 'statue'. But it's certainly an intriguing thing.

  2. That was just my way of getting people to read it.

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  4. Othenio Abel's 'Geschichte und Methode der Rekonstruktion vorzeitlicher Wirbeltiere from 1925 shows two figurines very similar to this one of two pterosaurs, one a twice-man-sized Ramphorhynchus. I think this one must come from the same collection.
    The image can be seen here

  5. @Ija - Thanks very much! It certainly loooks like it's from the same yet. Great to get a little illumination on its origins.


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