5-year-old girl discovered new species of dinosaur

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com  |  March 22, 2013 at 2:01 PM
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A new species of flying reptile dating back to 115 million years ago was discovered by a little girl walking along the beach on the Isle of Wight in 2009, BBC News reports.

Daisy Morris, who is now nine, is to have the species named after her as Vectidraco daisymorrisae. Vertidraco means "dragon from the Isle of Wight" while the rest of the title comes from the girl's name.

After finding the fossil on Atherton beach, Daisy and her family brought the fossils to dinosaur expert Martin Morris. With the help of fellow researchers at the University of Southampton, Simpson confirmed that the fossil came from a new species.

"The fossil turned out to be a completely new genus and species of small pterosaur, a flying reptile from 115 million years ago in the Lower Cretaceous period, which because of the island's eroding coastline, would without doubt have been washed away and destroyed if it had not been found by Daisy.

"It just shows that, continuing a long tradition in palaeontology, major discoveries can be made by amateurs, often by being in the right place at the right time."

There is even a children's book about the young fossil-hunter, called "Daisy and the Wight Dragon," according to the Daily Mail. "When I told my friends about it they said it was cool," Daisy said.

The fossilized remains of the Vectidraco daisymorrisae specimen has been donated to the Natural History Museum, which recently named the Isle of Wight the "dinosaur capital of Great Britain."

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