The bones of Bernissart

In April 1878, miners in Bernissart, a Walloon village in the former Borinage coalfield mines, found a huge amount of dinosaur bones in a 322 meter deep clay layer of the mine.

After the miners in Bernissart made their findings known, a group of paleontologists went to the mine to find more fossil remains of the iguanodons. Finally, they found thirty skeletons, ten of which were still completely intact.


Due to the fact that the bones were still in place in their likely natural position and were preserved very well in the clay, the scientists could quickly make an anatomy of the iguanodon skeletons. Not much later a first setup of a standing iguanodon could be made to show the world.

Today, a 300 m² and three storey high glass cage protects this Belgian national heritage. This allows visitors to admire each of these pearls optimally. In addition, they are able to go to the basement of the museum to see in what circumstances the skeletons were found.


You can visit the Bernissart iguanodons at this address: Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Vautierstraat 29, Brussels.

About the finding of the Bones of the Borinage, amateur paleontologist Sandra Cordier wrote a comprehensive and intriguing book. De book is available in Dutch and can be ordered using this link: