Dinosaur bones dating back more than 140-million years have been found beneath a prestigious Sussex boarding school.
Teachers and students at Ardingly College unearthed the fossils in the school grounds near Haywards Heath with the help of scientist Dr Susannah Maidment.
The dinosaur bones, fish teeth, scales, plants and shells are the remains of creatures that lived on land and in the sea.
The fossils were found while builders were excavating rubble from under a new boarding house called Godwin Hall.
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The £9,000-a-year public school’s chemistry technician Brian Craik-Smith, a trained geologist, first made the discovery.
He said: “After Godwin Hall was built I thought I’d do a geo-trail for our students. In the rocks in the excavated rubble we saw many freshwater snails, bivalves and plant remains.
“Later I also found several bones, believed to be from a dinosaur and a turtle that are 130-140 million years old. Since then we have found more rocks with teeth, scales and bone fragments.”
Dr Jane Blythe, the school’s head of biology, said: “Uncovering dinosaur remains just a stone’s throw from our biology labs has presented a unique and exciting opportunity for our students to experience first-hand the thrill and excitement of scientific discovery in its truest form.
“I feel very privileged to be working alongside Brian, our resident fossil-hunter, who initially discovered the remains, and to have such expert help and advice from Dr Maidment.”
Ardingly is now working with Imperial College London – where Dr Maidment is a junior research fellow at the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, to find more fossilised creatures from our ancient past.
Dr Maidment said: “We know that Ardingly College sits on a rocky treasure trove of ancient fossils.
“The problem is we do not usually get access to them because this area of England is so heavily urbanised. The discovery of these fossils is rare.
“The pupils are going to be further examining this fossil-rich layer to figure out what sort of animals were living in West Sussex 140 million years ago. We expect to find ancient fish, crocodiles and more dinosaur bones.”