Daisy Morris, a nine-year-old girl from Whitwell, England, has been interested in fossil-hunting since she was just a toddler. Back in 2009, while walking along the beach on the Isle of Wight with her family, Daisy, then just four years-old, noticed a tiny black bone protruding from the sand. “I saw [the bone] poking out of the ground, so I dug it up,” she explains. The family presented Daisy’s find to a fossil expert at Southampton University, who knew instantly it was something special.
A team of scientists were able to deduce that the bone was a pelvic girdle from an as-yet-undiscovered species of flying reptile from the Lower Cretaceous period, but it wasn’t until earlier this week that the discovery was confirmed in a paper published in a scientific journal. Along with the confirmation came the announcement of the creature’s name: Vectidraco daisymorrisae, in honor of the talented girl who rescued the fossil from a quickly eroding coastline.
Vectidraco daisymorrisae has been donated to the Natural History Museum. “I don’t know of any other young girl this age who’s made a major discovery like this,” says fossil expert Martin Simpson. “It’s quite unique.”
Daisy’s name will now appear in her beloved dinosaur books, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just the first of many times her name makes it into the textbooks. Keep exploring and digging up new discoveries, Daisy, and we’ll keep cheering for you!