Daisy was just 4 when she stumbled upon the fossilized remains of an unknown animal during a family walk on the beach in 2009. The family lives near the coast of England's Isle of Wight — also known as the "dinosaur capital of Great Britain."
...Over the past several years, the bones Daisy discovered have been thoroughly analyzed by paleontologists. The findings were finally published this Monday. The fossilized remains belong to a previously unknown genus and species of a small flying reptile called the pterosaur*.
Daisy, now 9, has accomplished something I only dream of: the new species was named for her, Vectidraco daisymorrisae. Hit the link for more details and to see the world's most ADORABLE amateur paleontologist. More here and here. (Thanks to everyone who sent this tip!)
More dinosaur news after the jump!
In other news, dinosaurs may have invented the missionary position:
Researchers argued that for species like the stegosaurus, which had a stiff, spiky tail, the position could have proved dangerous or even fatal.
Brian Switek, a dinosaur expert, said: "The females could not raise their tails because the bones at the top end were fused. Also, some species had lethal spikes on their backs, which would have been impossible to get past."
Heinrich Mallison, a scientist at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, tested out the theory by designing computer models of kentrosaurus, a cousin of stegosaurus.
Using the software, he found that males would have "risked castration" from the deadly spikes on the female's hips if they tried to mount from behind.
He said: "These prickly dinosaurs must have had sex another way. Perhaps the female lay down on her side and the male reared up to rest his torso over her."
More here and here, and if you're a Scientific American subscriber you can read the entirety of Brian Switek's article on the subject.
And finally The Stan Winston School of Character Arts has released another behind-the-scenes video about the making of the dinosaurs in the original Jurassic Park. (You may remember the one about the raptors from November. This video shares details about the brachiosaurus puppet.) Check out their blog post to read more and for images of the puppet.
*Pterosaurs are not dinosaurs. They are prehistoric flying reptiles.
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