Vectidraco daisymorrisae

The photo at the start of my blog shows me holding a fossil that I found in 2008 when I was 4 years and 7 months old, I found it when I was out on a fossil hunt with my family at Atherfield beach on the Isle of Wight, where I live. I took the fossil to a local fossil expert who then took it to Southampton University for more experts to look at it.

The fossil took a long time to be checked and identified but in 2013 when I was 9 it was officially named and released as a new species. The new pterosaur was named ‘Vectidraco daisymorrisae’, the first part of the name means ‘Isle of Wight dragon, while the species name is named after me. As I discovered the specimen I decided to donated it to The Natural History Museum in London in 2011.

Some of the photos are of  me and my family when we took the fossil up to The Natural History Museum to donate it. Lorna Steel invited us to have a look out the back of the museum to see some of the other pterosaurs they have. She told me that my fossil would be sharing a draw with some of Mary Annings pterosaur fossils, she was a fossil hunter in Victorian times.

After the release of the new find everyone in the world wanted to know about how I had found it, about my collection of fossils and bones and wanted to speak to me about it. I have been on Newsround, The One Show and Canadian news (by Skype video), done loads of radio interviews, been in the newspapers in Britain, India and Hong Kong and children’s  magazine’s in Germany and Britain, spent the day with Barney and crew from Blue Peter and appearing on there as well.

I have also been made the Children’s Ambassador for Visit Isle of Wight and had a part in an advert for the Isle of Wight which was shown on ITV.

Martin Simpson has written a children’s book about how I found the fossil; it has some brilliant illustrations in it the book it is called Daisy and The Isle of Wight Dragon.

Last year was very busy.

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Manx Shearwater Skulls

These are some of the Manx Shearwater skulls I found on Skomer Island in Wales. When I got home I had to clean them up by pulling off the feathers that were still left on and then putting them in hot water so I could clean up the skull.

If you look at the photos one of the skulls has thinner sections in it, I think this one is a juvenile bird and the skull hasn’t finished growing.

Skomer August 2013

When me and my family went to Wales we went to Skomer Island by boat, it was really exciting, it took 20 minutes to get there. While we were waiting we saw loads of Moon Jelly Fish.

We stayed on Skomer for a whole day and explored the island, we saw Puffins, Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters, Chough, Peregrine Falcon, Gulls, Grey Seals, rabbits, butterflies, lots of dead birds and Sexton beetles, these are beetles that eat up the dead bodies of animals and birds, they have a lovely red and black pattern on them and they are about 2.5cm long.

The dead birds were Manx Shearwaters that the Great Black Back gulls had killed and eaten, but had left their wings and heads. I bought some of the dead birds home, they didn’t have any flesh on them, just dried skin and feathers.

I had a fantastic time on Skomer, it was really fun. I loved seeing all the different birds, I couldn’t believe how many different ones I saw in one day.

Sheep Skull

I got my sheep skull when we went on a walk. A friend had found a decomposed sheep while she was walking her dog and told us where we could find it. So the next day we went out to look for it; dad removed the skull, there wasn’t any skin or flesh left on it. When we got it home I cleaned it up a little with some bleach to kill any bugs and glued the teeth in the right place with super glue. Then dad cut a short piece of wood to hold the jaw in place. It is now on the shelf in my room, with the rest of my skulls.

Badger Skull

I found the badger skull like this, it was in our stream down the garden, near the tunnel where the stream goes under the road. It looked like it had been there for a long time because it had mud were it’s brain should be, this is called the cranium.
It has a hole in its cranium and it’s cheek bone (zygomatic arch) and there is a hole nearer the orbit. I am not sure but it might have been hit by a car and fell in the stream from the road.
I know it’s an adult because the plates in it’s skull are fused together and the sagittal crest on top of the skull is quite large. If you have a look at my baby badger bones at the skull, you can see it hasn’t got a sagittal crest; and you can still see the lines in the skull where it hasn’t fused together because it was only a baby badger.

Cormorant

We went to Thornes beach to look for fossils, I found some fossilized snail shells, turtle shell and crocodile skin.
When we were down the beach I found a dead Cormorant, it was already decomposing, so I took the head and put it in a bag. I have found quite a lot of dead sea birds this year, I don’t know why. When I got home I put it in the garden to finish decomposing, I put a crate over the dead animal so the flies can get in but nothing else can.
The photos show the skull after the flies have finished cleaning it up and I have washed it, I am going to think about whether to clean it up any more.

From the back of the skull to the end of the beak is 15cm.
Its beak is 78mm long.

Cormorants and Shags are like each other to look at, but Cormorants have white under their beak, Shags don’t, they have a black short crest on their head.
Cormorants catch fish in long underwater dives from the surface. It can feed in quiet estuaries and in lakes or rivers.

Nesting: They have a bulky nest made of sticks in trees and on cliff ledges, 3-4 eggs, 1 brood in April-May.
Length: 80-100cm
Wingspan: 1.3-1.6m
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Weight 2-2.5kg

Blackgang’s dinosaur release

On the 1st August I got invited to Blackgang Chines release of the Dinosaur. They are two big baby T-rex’s, like the ones in the show Walking with Dinosaurs, one is a girl they have called Sheila and the other one is a boy called Shadow. The dinosaurs are fantastic and look real, I really enjoyed seeing them and having my picture taken with them. The photos they took of me with the dinosaurs are to use for advertising, one of them is on Blackgang Chines face book page.

After that I was invited into the park so I could spend the day having fun with my family. There was loads and loads of things to do, but I loved looking at and sitting on the Dinosaurs in the park and the new Dodo land.
Blackgang Chine has been open for 170 years and is Britain’s oldest theme park, the first attraction was the skeleton of a whale that had got washed up on the local beach. I wanted to go and see the whale as I collect bones and skulls and I would probably never be able to get a whale skeleton, but I would love to have one. It was really big and awesome, I have put some pictures on my blog to show you how big it was. The tail had been preserved and it was interesting to read that Alexander Dabell who started Blackgang Chine, found the washed up whale and sold of all the blubber first then bleached the bones and put them on display.