A young Isle of Wight girl fascinated by all things dinosaur has made an incredible discovery on an Island beach – a completely new species of “dinosaur” from 115 million year ago – which has now been named in her honour.

Daisy Morris, now aged 9, was almost 5 years old when she made the amazing find while out walking with her family at Atherfield beach.   Feeling pretty sure that Daisy had stumbled across a specimen worthy of further investigation, the Morris family approached Island ‘Fossil Man’, Martin Simpson, for his expert opinion.

Martin, who immediately involved his colleagues at Southampton University, said: “When Daisy and her family brought the fossilised remains to me in April 2009, I knew I was looking at something very special. And I was right…

“The fossil turned out to be a completely new genus and species of small pterosaur, a flying reptile from 115 million years ago in the Lower Cretaceous period, which because of the Island’s eroding coastline, would without doubt have been washed away and destroyed if it had not been found by Daisy.

“It just shows that, continuing a long tradition in palaeontology, major discoveries can be made by amateurs, often by being in the right place at the right time”.

In October 2011, the skeleton was taken by Daisy personally to the Natural History Museum, South Kensington London.  Daisy’s ‘find’ on an Isle beach was a fossil which has helped experts to identify a new pterosaur species.  The animal is currently known only from a well-preserved pelvic girdle just 40mm long, but that was enough for the palaeontologists to work out that they were dealing with an entirely new species.

They have named it Vectidraco daisymorrisae: the generic name Vectidraco meaning ‘dragon from the Isle of Wight’, while the species name honours Daisy Morris, the girl who discovered the specimen and donated it to The Natural History Museum in London.


Daisy herself is a fascinating and unique little girl: she has an amazing collection of real and fossilised bones, shells, skulls and teeth, and her bedroom at her home in Whitwell, now resembles a natural history museum.

The story highlights the special relationship between amateurs, academics and curators, in bringing these important finds to the attention of the scientific world. As a reward for the Morris’s generous donation of the fossil to the national collections, the species has been named in her honour. Soon Daisy’s fossil will appear in all the new dinosaur books and her name will be preserved in history.

News of this particular find came shortly after the discovery on the Isle of Wight last week of an ‘almost complete’ skeleton of a 12-feet long dinosaur.  That skeleton has now been removed from the National Trust land where it was found, and work to clean it is likely to take around 5 months before it can be reassembled and hopefully put on show at Dinosaur Isle museum in Yaverland.

Named the ‘Dinosaur Capital of Great Britain’ by the Natural History Museum of London in January, the Isle of Wight will also be host to one of the biggest and most extensive summer film campaigns in the UK to celebrate the upcoming release of Walking With Dinosaurs the 3D Movie, in cinemas December.

As the only place in the UK which is currently gearing itself up for a DINOFEST this summer, the Isle of Wight is once again back in the headlines – thanks to yet another discovery on an Island beach.

And while all of this promises to put the Island in the media frame as never before, the Visit Isle of Wight Limited team is currently planning a summer of dinosaur-related activities all wrapped-up under a DINOFEST banner.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight Limited, said: “Back in the news thanks to another remarkable discovery on a beach, VIOW is planning a six-week summer takeover marketing campaign on the Island and in regional, national and international press inviting visitors to come walking with dinosaurs on the Isle of Wight this year.

To make the most of this free, movie-induced promotion, a DINOFEST – Summer Holiday Dinosaur Events Tool Kit – an aid to dreaming up events and activities that could be weaved around a dinosaur theme this summer – has been distributed to Island hotels, pubs, restaurants, attractions, museums, shops, school etc.

The toolkit can be used by anyone who decides to run a dinosaur-inspired event and suggestions include dinosaur-inspired food and drink, window displays, talks and lectures, treasure hunts and much more.  The only criteria is that the event or activity should take place during the school summer holiday period – although VIOW will do all they can to mention any other events outside of that period.  An exhibition showing the making of the film is also planned at Dinosaur Isle.

All events will be featured in DINOFEST, Visit Isle of Wight’s summer programme of dinosaur events, http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/dinofest-2013-p938841

The Isle of Wight prepares to go Walking with Dinosaurs

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The Isle of Wight prepares to go Walking with Dinosaurs

The Isle of Wight today announced plans to partner with BBC Earth Films and Twentieth Century Fox to bring Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie to the island this summer. The film is the first 3D cinema release from BBC Earth Films, the theatric arm of BBC Worldwide’s BBC Earth brand.

Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie is a major new blockbuster from BBC Earth Films and Evergreen Films, presented by Twentieth Century Fox & Reliance Big Picture in association with IM Global LLC. The film is set for global release in December 2013 and is distributed by 20th Century Fox in the US and in the majority of international territories.

Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie tells a thrilling story of families born and families torn apart, of growing up, rivalry and competition. Featuring compelling dinosaur characters, this epic adventure will captivate audiences and take them back 70 million years to see our world as it was when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The film features state-of-the-art 3D, using the expertise of Cameron I Pace Group to fully immerse cinema-goers in the prehistoric age.

The Isle of Wight, crowned the ‘Dinosaur Capital of Great Britain’ in January, will support the summer film campaign with a raft of activity celebrating the islands incredible prehistoric history. From summer 2013, Isle of Wight visitors are invited to experience a once in a lifetime journey using digital innovation to bring the islands history to life. The Island’s tourism team are working closely with the film creators to develop a hands-on digital experience that will introduce visitors to the great ancestors of the dinosaurs featured in Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie. These ancestors skeletons are one of the many discoveries made on the Isle of Wight where visitors will really be able to walk in their footsteps and learn about the lives of these amazing animals.

David Thornton, Chief Executive of Visit Isle of Wight said: “We’re excited about bringing palaeontology, education, entertainment and Hollywood together to create a real life Walking with Dinosaurs experience for holidaymakers. The scientific credentials of the Island are second to none, it’s already recognised as one of the most significant locations in Europe for dinosaur finds and so the Isle of Wight is a perfect partner for Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie.”

Twentieth Century Fox International Vice President of Partnerships, Ian Morton, continues: “Our partnership with the Isle of Wight this year allows us to reveal our compelling story through the Island’s dinosaur heritage across special locations, drawing upon a wealth of research already undertaken on the Island by palaeontologists. We are looking forward to creating a fun, interactive experience for all the family that will really help bring the adventure of the film to life. We are also exploring a number of amplification opportunities such as hosting a Gala Premiere of the movie on the Island later this year.”

The mammoth event and affinity
partnership is being co-ordinated by the Island’s new destination management organisation, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, in partnership with BBC Worldwide,  BBC Earth Films, Twentieth Century Fox and Isle of Wight Council.  A summer campaign will be launched to potential summer holiday makers in May and will run throughout the summer months and into the Autumn.

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For more information: About Visit Isle of Wight please contact:

About BBC Earth Films please contact: david@visitwight.org

Emma Finlay, Senior Press Officer, BBC Worldwide Global Brands Tel: 0208 433 2536 or Email:Emma.Finlay@bbc.com


About BBC Worldwide Ltd.

BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to exploit the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the licence fee payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. In 2011/12, BBC Worldwide generated headline profits of £155 million on headline sales of £1085 million and returned £216 million to the BBC. For more detailed performance information please see our Annual Review website: http://www.bbcworldwide.com/annualreview

From April 2013, BBC Worldwide is restructuring its business to be based around geographic locations, supported by key global business areas.

Twentieth Century Fox International

Twentieth Century Fox International is a unit of 20th Century Fox Film, a segment of Fox Entertainment Group.