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28th Jan, 2022

'Fossil magnet' dad digs up new species of dinosaur on the beach

Ross Crawford 20th Aug, 2020 Updated: 20th Aug, 2020

“IT’S like winning the Lottery – there’s no other way to describe it.”

That’s how Robin Ward felt when he discovered the fossils of what has proved to be an entirely new species of dinosaur – 115 million years old – while beach combing on the Isle of Wight.

“There had been a high tide and it had scoured the beach – before it would have been covered in sand,” said Robin, a carpenter/joiner by trade whose lifetime passion is fossil hunting.

“There in front of me were two bones, it was like winning the lottery, I tell you, it’s a good feeling.”

Robin and his wife Amanda – also a passionate fossil hunter – had just landed on the island for a holiday to celebrate their daughter Mim’s tenth birthday in 2019.

They’d arrived early, the hotel wasn’t ready, so they “decided to go for a mooch along the beach,” said Robin.

And such has been the significance of their discovery that it is only now, one year later, that the news has come out.

“We took the bones to the museum on the island and they knew right away they were special, and for them to tell me it could possibly be a new species, it was even better than finding them.

“Someone had found a bone earlier in the year and there was a bone found later, so it means that collectively our names will be linked to it for the next 115 million years!”

What they found is a new genus of dinosaur related to Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Born in Bromsgrove, Robin puts his passion down to scrambling around the old sandstone quarry behind Charford as a lad.

He and Amanda even spent their honeymoon fossil hunting.

The couple have two children, Andrew, who is at university, and Mim, who was born in Redditch where the couple lived for 16 years.

Five years ago they moved to Broom near Alcester.

“They call Robin the fossil magnet,” said Amanda. “He was dressing a stone to make a step once, tapped it and found the fossil of an Ichthyosaur inside.”

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