(Isle of Wight dragon).
Named By: Darren Naish, Martin Simpson & Gareth Dyke - 2013.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea, Azdarchoidea.
Species: V. daisymorrisae (type).
Diet: Uncertain due to lack of remains but probably a carnivore/piscivore.
Size: Uncertain due to lack of remains but comparison to similar pterosaurs yields rough estimates of around thirty-five centimetres body length and seventy-five centimetres for wingspan.
Known locations: England, Isle of Wight - Atherfield Formation, Chale Clay Member.
Time period: Aptian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial post cranial remains of the left pelvis, right ischium, three sacral vertebrae and one dorsal vertebra.
named from only relatively few bones, the fossil remains of
Vectidraco are still enough to clearly identify
it as a new
distinct genus from other known pterosaur
genera. The fossils of
Vectidraco also show that in life the bones were
weight saving adaptation which meant that the bones of the living
animal were very light making flight much easier. One of the key
things about Vectidraco is its small size, which
for an azdarchoid
pterosaur is actually very small. A seventy-five centimetre wingspan
might sound large, but when you compare Vectidraco
to giants like
you can appreciate just how small this
pterosaur was. It is still uncertain if the remains represent an
adult or a sub adult with a little bit of growth left to go, but
nonetheless the discovery of Vectidraco indicates
that azdarchoids may
have been much more adaptable to environments than previous
discoveries have indicated.
Vectidraco is named from a combination of the old Roman name for the Isle of Wight and the Latin word for dragon, a word that is increasingly becoming used in the naming of pterosaur genera. The species name V. daisymorrisae has been named in honour of Daisy Morris who first discovered the fossil remains of Vectidraco in 2008 when she was just four years old. The story of the discovery has now also been written as a children’s story called Daisy and the Isle of Wight Dragon.
*Special note - Many news articles reporting upon the story have erroneously lead the story with ‘flying dinosaur’, but it must be remembered that Vectidraco is actually a pterosaur. While pterosaurs are reptiles, they are otherwise unrelated to dinosaurs.
- A New Small-Bodied Azhdarchoid Pterosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of England and Its Implications for Pterosaur Anatomy, Diversity and Phylogeny, Darren Naish, Martin Simpson & Gareth Dyke - 2013.