Newsline reports on the release of CAD files released for the purposes of 3D printing by scientists at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Now, “anyone with access to a 3D printer can create a replica of a 200-million-year-old dinosaur skull.”
The researchers “used advanced CT scanning technology to image and digitally reconstruct – bone by bone – a detailed 3D model of the skull of Massospondylus, a sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Early Jurassic.”
The researchers published this rendering via the journal PeerJ. “CT scans revealed new details about the connection between the dinosaur’s middle and inner ear. The imaging also showed the pathways nerves took through the neck and head.”
Kimi Chapelle, a PhD student at the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits explains: “I was amazed when I started digitally reconstructing Massopondylus’ skull, and found all these features that had never been described. It just goes to show researchers still have a lot to learn about South Africa’s dinosaurs…by comparing the inner ear to that of other dinosaurs, we can try and interpret things like how they held their heads and how they moved.”
3D printing is undoubtedly changing the way paleontologists interact with, and ultimately understand, fossils.
Image and Quotes Courtesy of Newsline