Royal Tyrrell Museum of Alberta has discovered another novel application of 3D printing technology. This is bringing delicate dinosaur samples to life to improve knowledge and build compelling presentations.
Amy Kowalchuk made a jaw bone duplicate for a new show depending on a skeleton that is tens of millions of years old.
As a Royal Tyrrell Museum 3D technician, she states plenty of attention is best when handling this material.
“Especially in paleontology, we’re dealing with priceless specimens that are very, very delicate and you really don’t want to be damaging them,” says Kowalchuk told CBC News.
Nowadays Kowalchuk spends much of her time behind a camera lens, creating a digital design of the museum’s finds.
“You just have to take multiple photographs from multiple angles and then from that, you can triangulate them using computer programs, and then that gives you your 3D model,” she said.
This technology is assisting the museum display of some of its more exciting finds like tyrannosaur samples called the fractured skull.
It has 41 parts and is very delicate. Still thanks to some 3D printed pieces, it’s now on show.
The technology is also attaching a distinct dimension to guardian François Therrien’s study on dinosaur brains.
He is utilizing recreated brain pits to obtain a good knowledge of dinosaur behavior. This includes how they hunted.
“Before, trying to reconstruct the brain structure or the brain shape of these extinct animals required a lot of work,” Therrien says.
“We needed to break the bones or have skulls that were already broken and then pour latex in there, try to peel it out and then a cast of the brain cavity. Now we can all do that with a CT scanner and 3D printing, so we can ask a lot of questions that previously would have been impossible to do.”
Royal Tyrrell is not alone. Many museums are digitizing sets, which assist dinosaurs come ready for both fans and researchers.