Lucky girl gets prehistoric beast named after her

NEED TO KNOW
  • UK girl, 9, found fossils of a prehistoric flying creature
  • Scientists honored her find by naming the genus after her
Lucky girl gets prehistoric beast named after her

We are very jealous of Daisy Morris.

The 9-year-old girl from the Isle of Wight in the UK has lived out not one, but several childhood dreams already. First, she found a prehistoric fossil, which turned out to be from a scary-sounding flying beast we never even knew existed. Then, scientists were so impressed with her find, they named the species after her!

Daisy, you lucky, lucky girl.

Daisy's mom says the girl has been fossil hunting since she was 3 and and made the discovery in 2009 while walking on a beach. At the time, it was nothing but a few black "bones sticking out of the sand," but the family took the find to Martin Simpson, a fossil expert from Southampton University.

"I knew I was looking at something very special. And I was right," Simpson told the BBC.

After a long period of tests and research, scientists confirmed the bones were from a previously unknown species of small pterosaur. For those of us whose geological know-how begins and ends with"Jurassic Park," a pterosaur was a type of flying reptile (as in, close to a dinosaur, but evolutionarily speaking, no cigar).

Daisy's pterosaur in particular will now be the most delicate and refined pterosaur in the modern world, after being given the name Vectidraco daisymorrisae. "Vectidraco" means "dragon from the Isle of Wight," and "daisymorrisae" is of course, in honor of our heroine. The announcement and subsequent research was published in PLOS one, an open-access scientific journal.

Daisy's parents say they are "very proud of her" for her fossil-hunting skills. 

No kidding! Better start getting those university applications ready now, because "prehistoric creature namesake" is going to be a tough bullet point to beat.

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