Following his forty year career in law, and his archeological studies regarding the early Indian cultures that built the mounds along the Missouri River, Judge E.P. West became interested in geology and paleontology. Well into his sixties, he moved to Lawrence, Kansas where he became associated with Professor F.H. Snow at the University of Kansas. Under the guidance of Professor Snow, he began collecting fossil leaves in central Kansas and vertebrate remains from the Late Cretaceous Smoky Hill Chalk in the late 1880s. West's name is associated with several significant discoveries in Kansas, including a rich deposit of fossil leaf impressions from the Dakota Formation in Ellsworth County and the type specimen of the elasmosaurid plesiosaur, Styxosaurus snowii from the Smoky Hill Chalk of Logan County. The specimens he discovered greatly enriched the early paleontology collections at the University of Kansas and illustrations of many of them were included in scientific publications by the University of Kansas. Although West is credited in the museum records in association with the specimens he collected, little else has been written about his work in paleontology.
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