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Iconic Fossils from Belgium and The Netherlands
Although Belgium and the Netherlands cover a limited area, within their territories an almost complete cross-section of the geological periods can be found. Our palaeontological heritage is therefore considerable. Within both countries several striking findings have been made, of which we will only mention a few – some well-known, some lesser-known.
The Iguanodons of Bernissart
The genus Iguanodon is one of the first described genera of Dinosauria. The original description, by Mantell in 1825, is based upon finds from iguana-like teeth in England. However, a find in the Belgian mine of Bernissart in 1878 defied all imagination: some thirty virtually complete skeletons, most of them related to associated fauna, offered an enormous amount of information about this genus.
Mounting one of the skeletons.
Today, most of these skeletons are on display in the RBINS in Brussels. Also in Bernissart a museum is dedicated to these animals. Both are well worth a visit.
The limestone formations in Maastricht and surrounding areas contain a rich marine fauna, with numerous types of invertebrates and vertebrates, including giant reptiles. Not only mosasaur finds, but also the finds of giant turtles appeal to the imagination. Because the limestone packages have been mined for centuries for building stones, and more recently for the cement industry, these fossils have been known for a long time. The mosasaurus finds from the 18th century are the first that are recognized as such, and the name Mosasaur literally finds its origin in the Meuse River ("Mosa"), referring to the location of the Mount Saint Peter on the Meuse, where these discoveries were made.
Impression of the discovery of the holotype of Mosasaurus hoffmannii (Levillaire, 1799)
To this day the remains of mosasaurs and other reptiles are regularly found in the many quarries in the area. A recent find (2012) was ' Carlo', named after its discoverer, the quarry worker Carlo Brauer.
' Carlo ', a recent mosasaurus find from the Maastrichtian.
More striking finds from our own area will be added later.
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