Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (UPI) Jan 10, 2013
Paleontologists in Brazil say a combination of CT scanning and 3D printing has taken the discovery and recreation of ancient fossils into the 21st century.
Sergio Azevedo of the National Museum of Brazil says he began to develop the technique after discovering the fossilized bones of an unknown animal in Sao Paulo state.
"Many times when you find a fossil in the field it's impossible to determine how much of the ancient animal you have," he says. "Sometimes you have just part of a bone or a tooth."
Azevedo came up with a solution to this perennial problem -- which also created a backup plan should a stray hammer stroke destroy an ancient fossil during excavation -- NewScientist.com reported Wednesday.
The solution? Just scan it and print it, Azevedo decided.
The museum team used a portable CT scanner to image the fossil in the ground, and then excavated a large section of rock to take back to the lab.
Once back at the museum, the encased fossil was imaged using a more powerful scanner and a 3D replica printed out in resin.
"This gives us safe access to the inner structures usually not accessible to conventional paleontology," Azevedo said.
The fossil he had found in Sao Paulo turned out to be a new species, a 75-million-year-old extinct crocodile.
"3D printing will be a step change in the science of paleontology once the costs come down," said paleontologist Louise Leakey, who runs a virtual fossil museum, AfricanFossils.org.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|