Dinosaur species named after Natural History Museum scientist

Museum scientists have named a newly discovered dinosaur after one of its paleontologists, who has spent two decades at the Natural History Museum

A new species of dinosaur has been named in honour of Natural History Museum scientist Professor Paul Barrett.

The remains of the armoured dinosaur, an ankylosaur, is now called Vectipelta barretti, in tribute to Barrett, who has worked at the museum for two decades.

The dinosaur remains, thought to be around 140 million years old, were discovered on the Isle of Wight and add to the diversity of dinosaurs which would have once roamed what is now the Isle of Wight.

While the fossil is not complete, the scientists were able to piece together what the entire skeleton would have looked like in life.

Vectipelta barretti ©Stu Pond

Barrett is an expert in herbivorous dinosaurs, and has previously named several new species himself.

“I’m flattered and absolutely delighted to have been recognised in this way”, said Barrett.

“Not least as the first paper I ever wrote was also on an armoured dinosaur in the Museum collections.”

“I’m sure that any physical resemblance is purely accidental.”

Dr Susie Maidment, a dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum and expert on armoured dinosaurs, said Barrett “is incredibly influential in our discipline.

“He is incredibly high profile and has contributed an enormous amount to the field. But he’s also had an absolutely enormous influence on all of our careers, and we wanted to thank him for that.

“So we decided to name a small, slow-moving, spikey organism after him.”