EDMONTON -- A beloved, 30-foot-long plesiosaur cast at the University of Alberta has a new name: Dr. Deeno Hinshaw.

Science students and the U of A Palaeontological Society held a contest for people to vote on a new name for the Cruteaceous-era marine reptile.

The tongue-in-cheek name pays tribute to Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, who has "carefully been leading Alberta through the COVID-19 crisis," the Faculty of Science said in a video posted to social media.

The winning entry was voted on by more than 500 people, the faculty said.

The plesiosaur is popular with students in the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science as it has "watched over countless study sessions and Starbucks runs between classes."

The Palaeontological Society was quick to point out, however, that as a marine reptile plesiosaur is not actually a dinosaur.

Still, they're "more than happy with the result," U of Alberta Science said.

It's not the first time Hinshaw — the chief medical health officer, not the marine reptile — has been the focus of praise from Albertans. 

Many have lauded her for her calm, kind approach to delivering challenging facts and figures on the pandemic, with some even creating artwork or T-shirts of the province's top doctor.

Dr. Deeno Hinshaw beat out several other entries, including the second-place "Indiana Bones."