Work continues on Eve the plesiosaur

Ben Ray reports on the ongoing investigations into Oxford's own sea monster

Eve the plesiosaur

Work is continuing at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on piecing together the remains of Eve, a 165 million year old plesiosaur discovered in a Cambridgeshire quarry. The museum, which has been working on the skeleton since it was donated in November 2015, recently sent the skull to have a CT scan in the Royal Veterinary College, and subsequently to Bristol University, to create a digital reconstruction.

Cherwell was taken behind the scenes to see the ongoing excavation of the creature’s skull, which has been rotated 190 degrees so it can be easier examined. Examiners have so far spend around 70 hours working on the skull, added to an estimated 600 hours piecing the jigsaw of bones together. Work on the skull has revealed a large collection of Belemnites, tiny squid-like sea creatures, which presumably either made up the creature’s last meal or settled on the dying animal.

Although existing in the same period as the dinosaurs, the plesiosaur is in fact a huge aquatic reptile: currently it is unclear whether these creatures are closer to snakes or crocodiles in ancestry. Hopefully the ongoing investigation on Eve, Oxford’s plesiosaur, will yield more information about these creatures.

There is a fascinating display case containing information on and sections of the plesiosaur skeleton, on exhibit in the entrance hall of OUMNH until the 25th of July.