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Maidstone dinosaur Iggy the Iguanodon still behind fencing at Maidstone East Station


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Almost two months after a town's railway station was refurbished its famous dinosaur remains behind bars.

The depiction of Iggy the Iguanodon, a Mantellisaurus, created by artists Gary and Thomas Thrussell was installed on the Maidstone East station forecourt at the start of August as part of a £2.5 million station upgrade.

Iggy remains locked up
Iggy remains locked up

The work was commissioned at a cost of £40,000 by Maidstone Borough Council - which has a depiction of an iguanodon in its official coat of arms.

The original Iggy was the fossilized remains of an Iguanodon that first roamed Maidstone 125 million years ago, which were dug up in a quarry off Queen's Road in 1834.

It was one of the first dinosaur finds - in fact it pre-dated the coining of the word dinosaur.

The bones were identified by palaeontologist Gideon Mantell.

As scientific research has progressed, the Maidstone dinosaur, whose original fossil can still be seen in the Natural History Museum in London, has been reclassified as a Mantellisaurus (named after Gideon Mantell) - a sub-species of the wider Iguanodon genre.

It's gender remains unknown.

Recently some joker has fixed a notice to the Harris fencing surrounding Iggy - with the plaintive pleas Free Me!

The Mantellisaurus at Maidstone East
The Mantellisaurus at Maidstone East

A Maidstone council spokesman could give no explanation as to why Iggy was still being held captive.

Cllr Tony Harwood said: "Even though Iguanodons could grow to a length of up to 10m, and might have weighed four to five tons, they were herbivores, so there really is no safety reason for keeping Iggy locked up.

"I can foresee a Free Iggy movement taking off like past high profile campaigns such as Free Nelson Mandela or Free Willy."

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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