There aren’t enough dinosaur bones to go around to every museum that wants them, so traditionally, museums would make plaster or concrete replicas of dino bones so that a museum in Florida can have a T-rex skeleton just like a museum in the UK. But with modern technology, bones can now be scanned and printed in 3D.
This not only might be cheaper for museums, but will make faithful reproduction possible for scientists to perform tests on bones and skeletal structures without risking damage to the originals.
Dr. Kenneth Lacovara of the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel is teaming up with the College of Engineering to bring paleontology into the 21st century. They have already started to create 3D scans, giving them a digital workspace which can be manipulated and analyzed, and the next step is to create the actual models. The technology is currently capable of creating a six-inch model in a few hours, and Dr. Lacarova estimates that they will have a functioning, robotic dinosaur limb finished by the end of the year. Down the road, the same basic technology could be used to create cheaper, full-sized replicas of expensive, rare fossils for display in museums.
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