Prehistoric Dinosaur Species Named for 9-Year-Old Girl Who Discovered It

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A newly discovered prehistoric species is being named for the 9-year-old girl who found its fossilized bones four years ago, according to the BBC.

In 2009, a 5-year-old Daisy Morris discovered some bones on a beach near her home on the Isle of Wight in England. Said Daisy's mother, Sian Morris, "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."



Daisy recognized the bones to be fossils and her family brought them to Martin Simpson, a fossil expert at Southampton University.

"I knew I was looking at something very special. And I was right," said Simpson, adding that, due to the fossils' location on the beach, they would certainly have eroded and been washed away had Daisy not found them and dug them up.

Experts Darren Naish and Gareth Dyke have been studying the fossils for the past four years, according to the Daily Mail U.K. They found that they are the remains of a previously unknown, 115-million-year-old species of pterosaur. The species has been named Vectidraco daisymorrisae in honor of the pint-sized paleontologist who discovered the fossils.

"When I told my friends about it, they said it was cool," said Daisy, whose friends are masters of understatement.

The Morris family has donated the Vectidraco daisymorrisae fossils to the Natural History Museum.

The precocious 9-year-old has been interested in bones and fossils since she was 3, according to her mother. "'If we are in the car and we go past an animal that has died, she'll ask me to stop so we can pick it up and she can take it home. She'll put them under a crate in the garden and let it decompose. The flies lay eggs and maggots clean the skeleton, then she collects the bones."

While most children and even adults may find Daisy's hobby disgusting, her parents encourage her. "
'If your child is good at drawing or dancing and they enjoy it, then you encourage them and this is what Daisy enjoys," her mother said. "She's fascinated and we're very proud of her."

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