New pterosaur species discovery by four-year-old girl

This video from Britain says about itself:

10 year old girl’s enclyclopaedic knowledge of dinosaurs

Isle of Wight – March 2008

1. Wide of person standing in the distance on a stormy beach

2. Wide of beach

3. Group of fossil hunters gathered on the beach and can be seen in silhouette

4. Close up of dinosaur enthusiast Abigail Plant standing on cliff and looking out at sea

5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Abigail Plant, dinosaur enthusiast: “Here I’m sitting on a natural cast of a dinosaur footprint. These formed when a dinosaur walks through all the mud and then mud is washed into it and fossilised like this. It’s probably from Iguanodon. And if you look you’ve got three toes here, heel pointing skyward.”

6. Close up of possible dinosaur foot cast

7. Wide of two persons fossil hunting at the beach

8. Abigail and mother walking into dinosaur museum

9. Wide of Iguanadon skeleton at museum

10. Abigail and Dinosaur expert Steve Hutt in the Museum’s Laboratory UPSOUND: (English) “in the middle of that lot is his bum if you like, his pelvis and these bones sit under the pelvis.”

11. SOUNDBITE: (English) Abigail Plant, dinosaur enthusiast: “Well I have found Pterosaur bones. One of them, it’s rather interesting. It had been fossilised and then it had been washed full of fish scales, which is rather unusual.”

12. Pan across skeleton of Brachiosaurus

13. SOUNDBITE: (English) Steve Hutt, Preparator at Dinosaur Isle Museum: “125 million years ago this part of the Isle of Wight and the rest of Southern England and most of Europe was actually down on a level with Africa. It was warm and the biggest things growing in that lovely warm temperature were reptiles, particularly dinosaurs.”

14. Wide of Neoventaor dinosaur skeleton

15. Close up Neovenator head

16. SOUNDBITE: (English) Steve Hutt, Preparator at Dinosaur Isle Museum: “The first of the giant dinosaurs which inhabited the world up to about 70 million years ago. These dinosaurs were actually bigger than T Rex (Tyrannosaurus rex). These are things they’ve got an awful name. They’re known as the Carcharodontosaurids which means the sharp toothed dinosaurs. But our one here, the Neovenator was the grandfather of them all.”

17. Close up of robotic animation of dinosaur head and eyes moving

18. SOUNDBITE: (English) Abigail Plant, Dinosaur enthusiast: “It’s the skull of this dinosaur here. Hipsolophodon. It’s quite small. Ate plants. What Steve has done here is he has made a clay replica of the skull and fitted the actual bones on to it.”

19. Wide of Abigail and mother hunting for fossils with other enthusiast on the beach

20. SOUNDBITE: (English) Steve Hutt, Preparator at Dinosaur Isle Museum: “And the erosion is terrific on this coast and we’re losing between 1 and 2 meters a year on this coast. So as you look at these sliding cliffs the fossil wood is coming out and occasionally the bones with them. But it’s a great place for footprints as you’ll find out.”

21. Group of fossil hunters, Steve and Abigail gathering round a possible footprint

22. Close up of Iguanadon footprint

23. SOUNDBITE: (English) Penny Newbery, Dinosaur Isle Museum: “So there’s so many of them down here in the mud, in the cliff, in the blocks there that you would have herds and herds of these things all the size of a bus around you if you’d been standing here 125 million years ago. Imagine that. And just to be really scary every so often there’d be a Brachiosauraus come along the size of two and a half buses.”

24. Newberry explaining to the children gathered round UPSOUND: (English) “And guess what the next time there is a big storm, this is all going to get blown away by the sea that will break and it wont be here anymore, so nobody else will ever see it.”

25. Close up of storm damage to footprint

26. Abigail at home opening a drawer of fossils

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.


14 thoughts on “New pterosaur species discovery by four-year-old girl

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