A nine-year-old girl has had a prehistoric beast named in her honour after fossilised bones she found turned out to be an undiscovered species. Daisy Morris from the Isle of Wight stumbled upon the remains on Atherfield beach four years ago. A scientific paper stated the newly discovered species of pterosaur would be called Vectidraco daisymorrisae.
Pterosaurs were flying reptiles that lived in the same time period as
dinosaurs, up to 220 millions years ago. Fossil expert Martin Simpson said this was an example of how "major
discoveries can be made by amateurs". Daisy's mum Sian Morris said her daughter had started
fossil hunting aged three and came across the blackened "bones sticking out of
the sand" in 2009, when she was four years old.
"I knew I was looking at something very special. And I was right," said Mr
Simpson. The fossil turned out to be a new genus and species of small pterosaur; a
flying reptile from the Lower Cretaceous period. The new species and name was confirmed in a scientific
paper published on Monday. Mr Simpson said the island's eroding coastline meant the fossil would have
been "washed away and destroyed if it had not been found by Daisy".
Mrs Morris said: "She has a very good eye for tiny
little fossils and found these tiny little black bones sticking out of the mud
and decided to dig a bit further and scoop them all out. We are all very proud of her". The pterosaur has since been donated to the Natural History Museum which
recently named the Isle of Wight as the "dinosaur capital of Great Britain".