3D Scanning and Printing Revolutionises Fossil Discovery and Recreation 3D printing is a new technology that allows us to print three dimensional objects in a similar fashion as printing ordinary photographs. The process requires additional materials such as polymer resins that make up the final 3D object but the principle remains the same: the creation of 3-dimensional objects from computer data. From prosthetic hands to car models, 3D printing has revolutionized the creation of various objects in various industries. It has even made an impact in fossil discovery, allowing archaeologists to create 3D models of skulls, bones and other artefacts that were previously only available in photographs. 3D Scanning and Fossil Discovery Scanning with the use of X-rays has revolutionized archaeology since it allowed archaeologists to discover artefacts without having to dig them up first. X-ray scanning also allowed them to see what's inside the bones and make discoveries that would otherwise not have been made without the technology. Today, 3D printing is breaking new ground in this field by allowing scientists and archaeologists to make new discoveries even if what they started with was just an unidentified piece of bone. In archaeology, it is not uncommon to dig up a piece of bone that may not look like any piece of bone belonging to any identified species. Pieces of bone dug up are also often too fragile to be handled manually, making detailed examinations which are important for identification very difficult. However, 3D printing is changing all that by allowing scientists to scan the artefact and print an exact replica which they can study and handle manually without any fear of damaging the original specimen. This technology is expected to revolutionize the discovery and identification of new species and previously unidentified artefacts. In fact, the technology has already been proven useful in identifying a new species of extinct crocodile by a team of scientists in the National Museum of Rio, Brazil. The team discovered the fossilized bones of an unidentified animal which they scanned and printed out using a 3D scanner. Extensive probing lead to the conclusion that the bones were of a 75-million year old extinct species of crocodile. 3D Printing and Fossil Recreation 3D printing is also very relevant to fossil recreation. Scientists are already using a technique that allows them to use extracted DNA from fossils to create exact replicas through 3D printing technology. This is revolutionary, since it allows better study of fossils without damage to the original artefacts. Powerful scanners trace the topography of the specimen as well as its inner dimensions and the data is then fed into the computer. This data is then used to create the printed object. Even if only a portion of the bone is present, stored data from previous digs can be used to recreate an entire bone or animal. Data can also easily be shared, allowing scientists to collaborate with colleagues from all over the world. Scanning technology also allows scientists to copy the fossils without taking them from their protective plastic jackets which are used to prevent disintegration and damage, making the process of preparation, examination and study safer for fragile historical artefacts.
Published on Apr 4, 2014
Published on Apr 4, 2014
3D printing is a new technology that allows us to print three dimensional objects in a similar fashion as printing ordinary photographs. The...