A new pterosaur from the UK

An image of Vectidraco showing what bones were found. (Wikimedia, Darren Naish mail, Martin Simpson, Gareth Dyke(

An image of Vectidraco showing what bones were found. (Wikimedia, Darren Naish mail, Martin Simpson, Gareth Dyke)

A new pterosaur has been found from the Isle of Wight in the south of England. Its name is Vectidraco daisymorrisae which means daisy morris’ dragon of the Isle of Wight.

Daisy Morris is a nine-year-old girl who found the bones five years ago when on a walk with her family.

Palaenotlogists from the University of Southampton realised that it was something different and spent the next five years studying the bones. Finally they decided that they belonged to a new species.

Vectidraco daisymorrisae was a small animal in a world of giants. The fossil was a adult when it died but its wingspan was only about 75cm, about the size of a crow.

There is a lot unknown about Vectidraco as only a few bits of its skeleton was found, including its pelvis and a few vertebrae.

It lived 125 million years ago when England was a chain of tropical islands.

What is a pterosaur?

A Pterosaur skeleton (David Peters, Wikimedia)

A Pterosaur skeleton (David Peters, Wikimedia)

While the dinosaurs ruled the land, the pterosaurs ruled the sky. Pterosaurs are flying reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs during the Mesozoic period. They include the largest animals ever to fly, with some in the group being as large as a jet fighter and as tall as a giraffe.

Pterosaurs didn’t have feathers like birds but instead had a wing made of a membrane of thin skin. The wing was attached to the body and the arms and looks similar to a bat’s wing. But unlike a bats wing, a pterosaurs wing was supported by one very long finger that could be metres long (the finger is the same as our pinky finger).

Pterosaurs became extinct at the end of the Mesozoic period, 65 million years ago which freed the skies for bats and birds today.

Here is a video from the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs series: