Isle of Wight fossil hunter and natural history collector Daisy Morris, who has had a new species of dinosaur named after her.Picture by Peter Boam.
A NEWLY-discovered dinosaur species has been named after the Isle of Wight girl who stumbled across its remains — when she was just five years old.
Palaeontologists announced this week that fossilised remains found on a stretch of Isle of Wight beach in 2008 had been finally identified as a new species of flying dinosaur.
The remains were discovered by Daisy Morris, who, now aged nine, has amassed a collection of fossils and animal remains so extensive it led one expert to describe her bedroom as "resembling a natural history museum."
It was on a family walk along along Atherfield Beach on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, close to their home in Whitwell, when sharp-eyed Daisy spotted the remains and realised it was a fossil.
The family took it to dinosaur expert Martin Simpson, who recognised its potential importance.
For the past five years, experts Darren Naish and Gareth Dyke have painstakingly studied the fossil, focusing on even the most smallest of details, before eventually publishing their findings this week.
They revealed the creature was roughly the size of a crow and was a previously unknown type of pterosaur.
The family has donated the remains to the Natural History Museum.
And when it came to naming the creature, the experts looked to its young finder for inspiration, officially dubbing it Vectidraco Daisymorrisae.
A children's book has even been written about her as a result, called Daisy and the Isle of Wight Dragon — with the title based on the translation of Vectidraco or Dragon of the Wight.
"When I told my friends about it they said it was cool," said Daisy, a pupil at Niton Primary School.
Daisy is well known for her unusual collection.
While many girls her own age choose to cover their wall with posters of pop stars, Daisy has dedicated her room to the study of animals and dinosaurs.
When she was just six Daisy contacted BBC Springwatch to ask the experts how long it would take for a dead mole she had found to decompose, so she could keep the skeleton.
The far-from-squeamish youngster also has the skull of a bull, she keeps in the living room, and several mummified animals, including a frog and a shrew.
Martin Simpson, who himself has a collection of 50,000 specimens he hopes to soon house in a purpose-built centre on the Isle of Wight, said Daisy's discovery had been vital.
"It's likely that if she had not picked this up, it would have washed away that day and might never have been found.
"It shows how amateurs and academics can work together and make some really important discoveries.
"She is a fascinating and unique girl. She has an amazing collection of real and fossilised bones, shells, skulls and teeth and her bedroom now resembles a natural history museum."