Horsham has a new claim to fame with a prehistoric twist - a dinosaur has been renamed after the town.
The Horshamosaurus, a large armadillo-like armoured herbivore that roamed the Earth 125 million years ago and grew to 5m (16ft) long, has been renamed by Dr William Blows, a specialist in armoured dinosaurs.
Fossils of the dinosaur, which was previously known as Polacanthus Rudgwickensis, were found by former Horsham Museum volunteer Sylvia Standing in the 1980s at Rudgwick brick pits, and have been on display in the museum ever since.
The fossils featured in an exhibition where experts realised they were not iguanadon bones, which had previously been found in Horsham and Southwater.
World-leading scientist Dr Blows initially believed the dinosaur was a type of Polacanthus.
However, after nearly 20 years of research, he has determined a difference in bones that shows the dinosaur is distinctly different to a Polacanthus.
He said: “I visited all the major armoured dinosaur remains in UK museums as part of my research for the new book, British Polacanthid Dinosaurs, and that included the Horsham Museum remains which I had studied before in the 1990s. These were named then as Polacanthus rudgwickensis.
“My new evaluation of the fossils indicated that it was a new genus of dinosaur, so I named it after the town.
“It is always exciting to study and name a new dinosaur.”
He has renamed the new genus of dinosaur Horshamosaurus rudgwickensis.
Horshamosaurus remains had previously been found in the United States and Asia but not in Europe.
Dr Blows added: “Horshamosaurus itself has never been found anywhere else before, it is unique to this one specimen.”
Dr Blows has published his findings in his new work on British Polacanthid dinosaurs, in which he explains his reasoning and evidence.
The Horshamosaurus fossils can be seen in Horsham Museum, which is open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday. Admission is free.
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