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In 1821 Mantell mentioned the find of herbivorous teeth and began to consider the possibility that a large herbivorous reptile was present in the strata.
However, in his 1822 publication Fossils of the South Downs he as yet did not dare to suggest a connection between the teeth and his very incomplete skeleton, presuming that his finds presented two large forms, one carnivorous ("an animal of the Lizard Tribe of enormous magnitude"), the other herbivorous.
As one of the first scientifically well-known dinosaurs, Iguanodon has occupied a small but notable place in the public's perception of dinosaurs, its artistic representation changing significantly in response to new interpretations of its remains.
of an Iguanodon in the strata of Tilgate Forest in Whitemans Green, Cuckfield, Sussex, England, in 1822 while her husband was visiting a patient.
A more complete specimen of similar animal was discovered in a quarry in Maidstone, Kent, in 1834 (lower Lower Greensand Formation), which Mantell soon acquired.
He was led to identify it as an Iguanodon based on its distinctive teeth.
The Maidstone slab was utilized in the first skeletal reconstructions and artistic renderings of Iguanodon, but due to its incompleteness, Mantell made some mistakes, the most famous of which was the placement of what he thought was a horn on the nose.
However, assistant-curator Samuel Stutchbury recognised that they resembled those of an iguana he had recently prepared, albeit twenty times longer.
Iguanodon was the second type of dinosaur formally named based on fossil specimens, after Megalosaurus.
Together with Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus, it was one of the three genera originally used to define Dinosauria.
In a new edition that year of his Recherches sur les Ossemens Fossiles Cuvier admitted his earlier mistake, leading to an immediate acceptance of Mantell, and his new saurian, in scientific circles.
Mantell tried to corroborate his theory further by finding a modern-day parallel among extant reptiles.