A few years ago, while strolling down a beach on the Isle of Wight (a small island in the English Channel), 4-year-old Daisy Morris stumbled on something unusual. She'd always been interested in dinosaurs, and had started hunting for fossils a year earlier with her mother. But this looked a bit different--blackened bones sticking out of the sand that didn't look quite familiar.
She took them to an archaeologist who discovered that the bones were fossils from the early Cretaceous period, about 100 million years ago, and that they belonged to a previously undiscovered creature. Four years later, the study was published in PLoS One, explaining that the bones came from a small species of pterosaur, a flying dinosaur, which has been named in Daisy's honor: Vectidraco daisymorrisae.
Pterosaurs have been found before on the Isle of Wight; in fact, the Isle is one of the richest dinosaur sites in all of Europe. You can even see dinosaur footprints at one part of the beach at low tide. So it's not too surprising that after Daisy's discovery, researchers dug a bit further and managed to come out with almost a full skeleton of the 12-foot-long flying 'saur, which will be displayed at the National History Museum.
That's really cool. Kudo's.
Excuses me, popsci. Pterosaurs is NOT a dinosaur. It is a flying lizard but do not belong in the dinosaur group.
With the amount of variation in physiology between dog breeds alone....why on earth do they keep saying they find "new" species of these critters? The scientists cashing in on them have never observed their breeding habits, how do they know it's not just variation within a species?
Not to put a damper on this girls find....but seriously?
Another cringe worthy article from Dan.
@campnarakol is correct, pterosaurs are not dinosaurs. A common misconception, but a person with real science chops would know this. Even the BBC knew not to call it the D word. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
"how do they know it's not just variation within a species?"
They don't. They have to guess based on the evidence they have. Any way, one thing I do know about paleontologists is that they love to argue about such things. Chances are this new species will move around a bit before it finds its proper place in the hierarchy. But with 1.3 million known animal species, why does the addition of a few more seem improbable?