Contributed by Rebecca Skiming
William Buckland’s 1824 publication announcing Megalosaurus was the first scientific description of dinosaur fossils. Some fossils from Cuckfield were also assigned to Megalosaurus and it became a “waste basket taxon”. Megalosaurus bucklandi from the Middle Jurassic is now considered the only valid species and the Early Cretaceous fossils from Cuckfield need to be reassigned.
Also in 1824, Georges Cuvier illustrated some conical teeth sent to him by Gideon Mantell from the quarries around Cuckfield that Mantell had identified as crocodilian. These teeth were later attributed to Sarcosuchus cultridens by Richard Owen. In 2003, Angela Milner recognised that Sarcosuchus teeth resembled the teeth of Baryonyx and in 2010, Eric Buffetaut published that the teeth from Cuckfield actually belong to Baryonyx, a spinosaurid dinosaur.
Another fossil from Cuckfield was originally assigned to Hylaeosaurus. It was later recognised as a theropod metatarsus and assigned to Megalosaurus oweni. In 1991, it was recognised as a unique specimen and given a new generic name to distinguish it, Valdoraptor oweni.
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