February 28th

1878 – Bernissart Iguanadons found

On this day in dinosaurs, two Belgian miners discovered a treasure trove of fossils in Bernissart. Starting with bones and teeth, the miners began uncovering more of the buried bones. When the Natural History Museum in Brussels was notified, scientists there identified the bones as belonging to Gideon Mantell’s Iguanodon.

Mounting a Bernissart Iguanodon / Wikimedia Commons
Mounting a Bernissart Iguanodon / Wikimedia Commons

As the work continued, researchers found complete skeletons in life position. These remarkable discoveries were far more substantial than any of the English dinosaurs. Finally, the world knew what Iguanodon looked like anatomically. Each skeleton was carefully graphed in position, sketched, and packed in plaster of Paris for transport to the museum. Many of the skeletons are still on display today.

Dollo's Iguanodons / Letters from Gondwana
Dollo’s Iguanodons / Letters from Gondwana

By 1879, 14 Iguanodons had been recovered from Bernissart. Louis Dollo was in charge of studying them and mounting them for display. He imagined them as reptilian kangaroos, perched on their hind limbs and tails (we now know they were more quadrupedal, though could have reared up on their hind legs). Dollo’s mounts still stand today in Brussels.


1997 – Turok: Dinosaur Hunter Released

Also on this day in dinosaurs, one of the Nintendo 64 console’s most popular games was released. This first-person shooter game featured the comic book character Turok setting off on adventures and shooting at attacking dinosaurs in the process.


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