Iggy

The local free paper published a brief but well written piece on the discovery in July 2001 of a relatively complete Iguanodon specimen in the claypits of nearby Ockley brickworks. A member of the Geologists’ Association and the Horsham Geological Field Club, renowned for spotting fossils that others have walked past, had noticed a broken piece of one of its ribs exposed on the clay surface. Expert palaeontologists were summoned from London’s Natural History Museum and declared it an important scientific discovery. But then the headline writers got hold of the news . . .


Our paper’s got a story on a long-extinct Iguanodon.
A rib, exposed in Ockley’s clay, was spotted first one July day;
Then, later on, the limbs, a jaw, some bits of pelvis, skull, and more.
The NHM arrived in force to verify the bones at source:

“This find’s important; it’s quite rare to find so much in good repair.”
A soundbite you could not get wrong, but headline writers said: “Too long,
We’ll shorten it! One verb, one noun – that ought to really dumb it down!
Just ‘Iggy pops up’ will do fine.” (Oh, don’t it make you feel like cryin’?)

[Photo of Smokejacks brickpit at Ockley, Surrey: Kent Geologists’ Group]
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