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Dinosaur remains found at Wienerberger brick factory

Cleaning dinosaur bones

Palaeontologists discover Iguanodon bones in compacted clay at Ewhurst in Surrey

DINOSAUR bones have been discovered at Wienerberger’s brick factory in Ewhurst, Surrey, by palaeontologists Jamie Jordan and Sarah Moore from the Fossils Galore centre in March, Cambridgeshire.

While visiting the factory’s quarry in February, the pair found a block of compacted clay that had formed a hard boulder. After splitting it open they discovered layers of associated bones that led them to believe there were more to be found.

Wienerberger were alerted to the find and gave the palaeontologists permission to continue excavating the fossilized bones and begin the process of discovering the species and background of the creature. The excavation process, which began in February, took four weeks to complete.

A group of volunteers helped to extract the blocks and get them ready for transport to the Fossils Galore centre. By the end of the process, the team had excavated seven blocks full of bones, ready to be cleaned, analysed and, ultimately, preserved.

After closer examination, it was confirmed that the bones are the fossilized remains of an Iguanodon, a type of Ornithopod plant-eating dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period, some 132 million years ago.

The Fossils Galore centre has named the dinosaur ‘Indie’ and is continuing to work on the blocks in its preparation laboratory, to expose more bones and piece them together. The Iguanodon would have been around 3m tall and 10m long, and would have weighed approximately 4.5 tonnes (equivalent to an African elephant).

Commenting on the discovery, Jamie Jordan, owner of Fossils Galore, said: ‘The extraction process wasn’t easy. Indie was hidden inside huge compacted clay blocks and was on a slope, making the process difficult at times.

‘However, due to the hard work of the Fossils Galore volunteers, we were able to extract and transport the remains to our preparation lab where we continue to work on her today. We’re thankful to the Wienerberger team for all the support they’ve given to us throughout this project.’

Stephanie Palmer, sustainability manager at Wienerberger, added: ‘A discovery such as this is extremely exciting for everyone involved. Not only does it provide a fantastic insight into the world that came before us, but it’s also a terrific opportunity for palaeontologists and the scientific community.

‘Finding a skeleton like Indie could shed more light on the creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago and progress the studies into the prehistoric world. The Wienerberger team is committed to preserving our heritage, so was more than happy to support this exceptional find.’

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