“Treasure trove” of dinosaur fossils found on Hastings coast

Hastings, formerly famed for its battles, is home to a recently uncovered set of remarkable dinosaur fossils. After coastal erosion hit the southeastern seaside town, researchers from the University of Cambridge discovered seven species of dinosaur fossils in its cliffs.

The fossils are remarkably well-preserved, showcasing intricate details of the creatures, including skin, scales and claws. The scale and scope of the discovery are significant too; researchers found no less than 85 markings, which range in size from under 2cm to over 60cm across.

The discovery dates back to the early Cretaceous period, which began some 145 million years ago, extending 79 million years to the Paleogene Period, itself starting 66 million years ago.

Among the seven species identified are an Iguanodon and Ankylosaurus, in addition to what is suspected to be a type of Stegosaurus. Their proximity indicates that the Hastings ecosystem housed all seven of the species.

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And while Hastings has long been a hotbed for prospective fossil hunters, findings thus far have largely been confined to dinosaur bones – and a whole fish. Footprints of this variety are harder to come by, something which has sent scientists into a frenzy, with the University of Cambridge describing it as a veritable “treasure trove”.

In fact, these fossils are the first of their kind to be discovered in the area for a quarter of a century. Those that preceded this latest haul were considerably less detailed, so the event marks a truly remarkable discovery.

Results of the discovery were reported in publication and household title Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, with co-author Anthony Shillito remarking, “A collection of footprints like this helps you fill in some of the gaps and infer things about which dinosaurs were living in the same place at the same time.”

There you have it. Seven kinds of dinosaur fossils discovered in a place whose current affairs stature hitherto peaked with a namecheck in Peep Show.

Image credit: University of Cambridge

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