Usually grouped with the Hypsilophodonts, Iguanodonts are considered to be the more advanced of the “Beaked Dinosaur” (Ornithopoda) Family. Considerably larger than Hypsilophodonts, Iguanodonts switched from walking around on two legs to going about four legs. With their toothless beaks and specialized jaws, these Dinosaurs not only could eat a wide variety of plants, but also break their food down more efficiently.
As one of the first groups of Dinosaurs ever to be discovered, the Iguanodon Family is also one of the best known. Being a relatively successful Family, They lived from the middle Jurassic to the late Cretaceous (about 100 million years). However, paleontologists considered this Family to be a “waste basket” (artificial) grouping of Dinosaurs, who were neither completely Duck-billed nor “Primitive Beaked” Dinosaurs. Moreover, cladistics revealed that this group display the evolution of Dinosaurs from Hypsilophodonts (“Primitive Beaked” Dinosaurs) to Hadrosaurs (Duck-billed Dinosaurs).
The Iguanodont Family reflects the growth in people’s knowledge of Dinosaurs from the first historical discovery to modern times. As we learned more about Dinosaurs, this Family became the measuring stick for our growth in wisdom. Acting as the mirror to ourselves, the Iguanodont Family tells us where we have succeeded or failed. When we want an honest assessment of ourselves, we look to this Family for what next They will reveal to us.