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Pterosaur: Dinosaur Named After Daisy Morris

A girl who was just five years old when she stumbled across a completely new species of flying dinosaur is to have it named after her.

Daisy Morris who is now nine, found the fossil at Atherfield beach on the Isle of Wight in 2009 and took it to local dinosaur expert Martin Simpson.

With colleagues from the University of Southampton, he confirmed it was a new species of pterosaur, about the size of a crow, from about 115 million years ago and which will now be called Vectidraco daisymorrisae.

Vertidraco means "dragon from the Isle of Wight" while the rest of the title refers to the young fossil-hunter.

Mr Simpson said: "When Daisy and her family brought the fossilised remains to me in April 2009, I knew I was looking at something very special. And I was right.

"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."

The pterosaur fossil has now been donated to the Natural History Museum.