Second fossil find reveals new crow-like Isle of Wight dinosaur species
Martin Simpson and Daisy Morris
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Another fossil found on the Isle of Wight is a completely new species of dinosaur, discovered with the help of nine-year-old from Whitwell and named in her honour.
In November 2008, avid fossil collector Daisy Morris, then five-years-old, and her family recovered the bones from a scree slope near the foot of the cliff west of Atherfield Point.
The fragments, part of a pelvis bone just 40mm long, were taken to Island fossil expert Martin Simpson and have now been identified as coming from a new genus of small pterosaur, a flying bird-like toothless species, from 115 million years ago in the Lower Cretaceous.
Dinosaur similar to a crow or gull
The species, with a wingspan of just 75 cm or so, would have been similar in size to crows or gulls, according to Mr Simpson who has donated the bones to the Natural History Museum.
A scientific paper has now been written and published, which confirms the dinosaur's name as Vectidraco daisymorrisae.
It translates as 'Daisy Morris's Isle of Wight Dragon' after Vectis, the old name for the Isle of Wight and 'draco' meaning dragon, as associated with pterosaurs.
Named in Daisy's honour
Mr Simpson said:
Vectidraco is from a different, younger unit called the Atherfield Clay Formation, and as such it's (so far as we know) only the second pterosaur reported from this unit. The fossil is therefore significant in revealing more information about pterosaur diversity in these Cretaceous rocks.
Daisy's family wanted this fossil to be studied and cared for properly, so they did what I and many of my colleagues would say is "the right thing" and donated it to a museum (The Natural History Museum, London). So, we only know of Vectidraco thanks to Daisy: for this reason we named it in her honour.
Daisy's story is to appear in a new dinosaur book called 'Daisy and the Isle of Wight Dragon' which has been written and published by Martin Simpson and illustrated by Mark Witton, Diego Barletta and Rupert Besley.
The find has been revealed just days after Isle of Wight Radio reported on an international partnership between Visit Isle of Wight, Twentieth Century Fox and BBC Earth Films on the launch of the Walking with Dinosaurs 3D Movie.
It is set to lead to a summer of dinosaur-related activities and promotions on the Isle of Wight.
Martin Simpson said his main ambition is that his own collection, now well over 50,000 specimens from the IOW, will soon be housed in a purpose built visitor centre on the south coast of Dinosaur Island.Go to full website