New pterosaur species discovery by four-year-old girl


This video from Britain is called Prehistoric beast named after Isle of Wight girl who found fossil.

Daisy Morris, pterosaur discoverer

From the BBC:

20 March 2013 Last updated at 11:52 GMT

Isle of Wight girl Daisy Morris has flying prehistoric beast named after her

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.

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.

The Morris family, from Whitwell, approached Southampton University‘s ‘Fossil Man’ Mr Simpson with Daisy’s finds in 2009.

“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:
Vectidraco daisymorrisae. Vectidraco means ‘dragon from the Isle of Wight’, and daisymorrisae honours Daisy Morris

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, a teaching assistant, 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“.

The confirmation of Vectidraco daisymorrisae comes a week after the discovery on the island of an almost complete skeleton of a 12-feet long dinosaur.

Pterosaurs were flying reptiles that lived in the same time period as dinosaurs, up to 220 millions years ago.

Pterosaur or dinosaur?

Pterosaurs were flying reptiles – the first winged vertebrates
They lived at the same time as the dinosaurs (from about 220 to 65 million years ago) – but were an evolutionarily distinct group
Species ranged from sparrow-sized to the largest known flying creature, with a 12m wingspan

So, Belgian news agency Belga was wrong to call Daisy’s new species a dinosaur.

Why pterosaurs weren’t so scary after all. These flying reptiles are traditionally seen as scaly, ungainly beasts, but the discovery of new fossils has led to some surprising findings: here.

How Pterosaurs Ruled the Skies Above the Dinosaurs: here.

Velociraptor ate pterosaur


This video about dinosaurs is called Velociraptor vs Protoceratops.

From the BBC:

7 March 2012 Last updated at 09:51

Velociraptor‘s last meal revealed

By Ella Davies Reporter, BBC Nature

The bone of a large flying reptile has been found in the gut of a Velociraptor, sparking fresh discussion among palaeontologists.

Velociraptors have previously been described as “hyper predators”.

However, scientists suggest this pterosaur was too large to be the Velociraptor’s intended prey but could have been scavenged.

The findings are published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology.

An international team of scientists revealed the drama of 75 million years ago with a detailed analysis of the skeleton found in the Gobi desert, Mongolia.

“It would be difficult and probably even dangerous for the small theropod dinosaur to target a pterosaur with a wingspan of 2 metres or more, unless the pterosaur was already ill or injured,” said co-author of the study Dr David Hone, from the University College Dublin, Ireland.

“So the pterosaur bone we’ve identified in the gut of the Velociraptor was most likely scavenged from a carcass rather than the result of a predatory kill.”

Velociraptors were not much taller than domestic turkeys but were thought to be voracious predators.

A famous fossil unearthed in 1971 known as the “fighting dinosaurs” shows a Velociraptor and larger Protoceratops apparently locked in combat.

But evidence of feeding by theropod dinosaurs, such as Velociraptor or Tyrannosaurus rex, are scarce in the fossil record.

Final feast

The 75mm-long pterosaur bone shard was found within the rib cage where the Velociraptor’s gut would have been.

According to Dr Hone the contents of dinosaur’s stomachs often elude scientists as they are rarely preserved.

“Gut contents are pretty rare and pterosaur bones are rather fragile and don’t preserve well, so it is an unusual find.”

In addition to proving that velociraptors took advantage of ailing animals, Dr Hone suggests that the evidence provides a further revelation: that small dinosaurs ate relatively large bones.

By analysing the bones, researchers also found out that the Velociraptor died shortly after feeding on the pterosaur.

The smooth surface of the reptile bones suggest it was not eroded by stomach acids and the team discovered the Velociraptor itself suffered from a broken rib.

“Pretty much all carnivores are both predators and scavengers as the situation dictates – actually getting evidence for that from the fossil record is rather hard [to get] though,” said Dr Hone.

Velociraptor facts

Velociraptors were made famous in the film ‘Jurassic Park’ although in reality they measured 50cm tall and recent research found they were at least partially covered in feathers

Velociraptor means ‘swift seizer’ and may have been capable of reaching speeds of 24mph

They were effective predators with an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on each hindfoot and rows of sharp teeth

Velociraptors would have existed around 71 million years ago during the Upper Cretaceous period

Fossils from two species of velociraptor are known; one was discovered in Mongolia and the other in China

See also here.

The Late Jurassic Pterosaur Rhamphorhynchus, a Frequent Victim of the Ganoid Fish Aspidorhynchus? Here.

Jurassic fail: fish accidentally snags pterosaur, and both die: here.

Pterosaurs Were on the Menu For Ancient Fish and Dinosaurs: here.

Small pterosaur discovered in China


This video is called Pterosaur tribute.

From the BBC:

Flying reptiles came in miniature

A new fossil species of flying reptile with a wingspan of less than 30cm (1ft) has been discovered in China.

The nearly complete articulated skeleton was unearthed in fossil beds from north-eastern China.

The 120-million-year-old reptile had not reached adulthood when it died, but neither was it a hatchling.

Study of the fossil suggests it is one of the smallest pterosaurs known, a team says in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The new species has been named Nemicolopterus crypticus, which means “hidden flying forest dweller”.

The researchers from Brazil and China say the toothless, sparrow-sized specimen contains several unique anatomical features that distinguish it from other pterosaurs (ancient flying reptiles).

For example, some of the foot bones are curved in a way not seen in other members of this reptile group. This, say the authors, indicates the pint-sized creature spent much of its time living in the trees.

Pterodaustro, another pterosaur species: here.

A NEW PTEROSAUR FROM THE LIAONING PROVINCE OF CHINA, THE PHYLOGENY OF THE PTERODACTYLOIDEA, AND CONVERGENCE IN THEIR CERVICAL VERTEBRAE: here.

A Reappraisal of Azhdarchid Pterosaur Functional Morphology and Paleoecology: here.

A new genus of pterosaur, Lacusovagus (“lake wanderer”), in Brazil: here. And here.