3D XRay vision reveals prehistoric predator's brunch

Tuesday 3 January 2023

It's the chance of lifetime for Joshua White to study Eric the plesiosaur during his PhD in the Materials Physics Department.

It's not just that Eric is nearly 100 million years old, and is an almost completely intact skeleton that, in the fossilisation process has turned into stunning opal.

Scientifically, the marvel is that Eric's stomach contents were preserved as well - which means that Mr White can study what Eric ate.

Using extremely high resolution CT scanning, and 3D image processing, Mr White has seen into the solid fossil of Eric's last meal, revealing not only facts about Eric, but also about what lived alongside Eric in the ancient oceans.

It's a remarkable glimpse into a distant world that no longer exists, Mr White says.

"It's a thrilling experience to be able to work on these elusive animal groups, and add a small piece of understanding to the puzzle of these prehistoric worlds."

» read more

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