Thursday, 2 June 2016

Is ‘Eve the sea monster’ a new plesiosaur species?

MAY 31, 2016

by Chuck Bednar

A rare, 165-million-year old plesiosaur skeleton discovered in 2014 and donated to the Oxford Museum of Natural History earlier this year remains the subject of intense research as scientists work to find answers to the many mysteries still surrounding the massive marine reptiles.

In January, an 18 foot (5.5 meter) long specimen known as “Eve” was donated by the owners of the Peterborough quarry where it was discovered, museum officials announced at the time. Since then, Dr. Hilary Ketchum, who looks after geological specimens at the center, and her colleagues have been working to clean and repair the creature, according to BBC News.

It takes more than an hour to assemble Eve’s skeleton, the British media outlet explained, calling the fossils “the biggest jigsaw puzzle you've ever seen” while adding that, “in this case, there are no instructions on the box.” In addition, museum conservators were working tirelessly to remove a clay encasing from the sea monster’s skull so that it could be analyzed by a CT scanner.

The intense preparation and examination of the remains should shed new light not only on this specific specimen – whose gender remains a mystery, despite its feminine name – but plesiosaurs as a whole, as there is still much to learn about the biology, anatomy and evolution of the marine reptiles that dominated the seas throughout much of the Mesozoic Era.
Could ‘Eve’ be an entirely new species of marine reptile?
Plesiosaurs are “a type of reptile related to other reptiles like dinosaurs, crocodiles, ichthyosaurs and turtles,” Dr. Ketchum explained to BBC News, “but actually we're not really sure where they fit in the grand scheme of things.” The creatures had long necks, broad and flat bodies, short tails and four long flippers powered by strong muscles attached to the shoulders and pelvis.

No comments:

Post a comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails