Discovery of a new dinosaur goes on display

Dino discovery SUS-151108-144346001
Dino discovery SUS-151108-144346001
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A remarkable find has shed light on a huge dinosaur that once roamed Bexhill.

The plant-eating dinosaur, a species of Iguanodont - known as Hypsecospinus - was the size of a single-decker bus and lived 140 million years ago in the Lower Cretaceous period.

Two years of painstaking excavation, conservation and research have gone into the find which is now on display in Bexhill Museum.

Paleontologists Peter and Joyce Austen, of Seaford, have done a great deal of work in the Bexhill area with local fossil-hunter David Brockhurst.

David, of Crowmere Avenue, has provided the independent, voluntarily-run museum in Egerton Road with many of its finest fossils, including that of the smallest known dinosaur.

Museum curator Julian Porter said: “It was Joyce who found the first bones. She specialises in plant fossils and tends to cover more ground.”

David Brockhurst delved deeper and, over the course of time, recovered more and more of Hypsecospinus.

Now the Bexhill find is being written up by one of the leading authorities on Iguanodons. Dr David Norman, director of the Sedgwick Museum at Cambridge University is working in association with Joyce Austen.

Julian Porter says: “There are now known to be at least two types of dinosaur which are known by the term Iguanodont.

“We have got most of the parts, including the arms and legs. One thing which is missing, however, is the ‘thumb spike.’

“Either we have not looked in the right place or it may be that this particular species didn’t have the thumb spike like other Iguanodonts. It is believed that the thumb spike was a form of self-defence.

“David has been working on this for a couple of years and we are reasonably hopeful that most of it is out.”

The Hypsecospinus fossils are now on display in Bexhill Museum’s Sargent Gallery in Egerton Road.

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