Iguanodon dinosaur bone now cut and polished into a thin section which allows the vascular structure to be studied in great detail including in this instance the minerals formed within the tissue of each cell of the bone. This large sized section of a classic dinosaur bone, the dinosaur discovery which gave Gideon Mantell inspiration on his journey of discovery of the ornithopod dinosaur lineage of the British Isles.
Interestingly life-size models built under the watchful eye of Richard Owen (founding father of Dinosaurian knowledge in his day), misunderstood the anatomical stance of Iguanodon and for several decades the models were placed in the pose of a kangaroo like dinosaur with an erroneous nose spike which was actually a toe spike weapon used to defend itself against any predators.
The section is exceptionally well preserved, displaying in great detail the vascular structure, which has a metallic sheen, this is due to the absorption of minerals in the fossil bed. Mineral such as ferrous hematite and pyrites influence the microscopic structure of the inner bone. Here the presence of iron has created delicate patterns through the vascular system. The vessels are edged with a metallic appearance, liken to Asian cloisonné worked enamel vases having fine silver wire pique work inlays, to the author the slice of natural bone has these similarities and also similarities to 18th century specimen boxes, snuff and spice boxes which were very fashionable with the Georgians having animal bone and tooth enamel tops highly polished, an affected finish similar of this bone slice.
In the early nineteenth century Gideon Mantell acquired fossilised teeth from Cuckfield in Sussex. William Conyweare suggested the name 'Iguanodon' and so Mantell published the name circa 1825, making Iguanodon the second dinosaur to be named in the 19 century. Richard Owen named the first dinosaur megalosaurus and termed the name of dinosaur, thus the name was coined which set off a race to discover more about dinosaurs. In their reconstructions of the skeleton both Mantell and Richard Owen incorrectly put a nose spike on Iguanodon, this idea carried through to the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace during 1853 to 54, sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins built Iguanodon models under Richard Owen's guidance. The thumb spike can still be seen mounted on Iguanodons nose there today.
In later discoveries in Circa 1878, when large numbers of articulated Iguanodon skeletons were found near Bernissart in southern Belgium by miners confirmed that in fact the spike was in fact a toe spike to defend Iguanodon against predators. William Smith found isolated Iguanodon bones in a quarry at Cuckfield in Sussex during 1809, and it is now believed that Dean William Buckland had also discovered Iguanodon remains on the Isle of White prior to Circa 1822. Iguanodon has become a British dinosaur classic ever since Mantell's discoveries were presented to the world.