3D Printing Gives a Previously Unidentified Dinosaur Skeleton New Life

Share this Article

If you work at Triebold Paleontology, Incorporated, you may already have the job that every little kid dreams of having. Triebold is a company dedicated to the preservation of vertebrate fossils and the creation of museum-quality exhibits and the preparation, restoration, molding, casting, and mounting of specimens. As such, they employ droves of specialists from model makers to paleontologists. In other words, they specialize in all things specimen – great, small, rare, and fundamental – and they have been doing so for nearly a quarter of a century.

Ava-Skull-WebTriebold, appropriately headquartered in the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (RMDRC), is adding another notch to their belt by announcing the unveiling of a heretofore unknown species of ceratopsian dinosaur. The ceratopsian dinosaurs were a group of herbivorous, beaked gargantuans, the most famous of which is the triceratops.

AvaceratopsLabDataCleanThese creatures had a frilled neck plate, like an Elizabethan collar but with decidedly rougher table manners. The largest of them could reach 30 feet in length and upwards of 12,000 pounds. They roamed over a broad area of the Earth during the Cretaceous period, but never fear, they became extinct about 66 million years ago.

This particular ceratopsian has no formal scientific name as of yet, but those who know her best call her ‘Ava.’ The nearly complete original fossil skeleton was scanned and any missing pieces were recreated on a 3D printer based on laser scan data data. The researchers were lucky in that nearly every missing piece had a representative counterpart from the other side still present leading to the creation of a highly accurate specimen.

“Reconstruction and mounting the specimen involved laser scanning and 3D printing the few missing portions of the specimen,” the Triebold team said in a release. “Practically every missing portion was represented by its match from the other side, enabling precise restoration through digital mirror-imaging of 3D models and 3D printing the mirrored models. The skull was finished and placed on exhibit earlier but this is the first time the fully restored Late Cretaceous ceratopsian will have been assembled as a complete dinosaur skeleton.”

Before they could begin 3D printing the missing pieces, the paleontological team was searching through the sand in Harding County, South Dakota in a formation uncompromisingly named Hell Creek. As pulled from the ground, the skeleton was nearly 80% complete and even bore traces of skin impressions.Avaceratops-Lab-Clean

Despite being a sizable creature, this new creature was actually relatively small in comparison to the other members of the ceratopsian family. The skull measures just over a meter in length, meaning you wouldn’t want one of these greeting you happily at the door after a long day of work.

This is just one of the many instances in which 3D printing has been used to help in both the collection of paleontological data and its dissemination either to specialists or to the general public. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a 3D print is worth any number of pictures in the sense that it can be easily shared, manipulated, and bring back to life the stories of animals long extinct.

Let’s hear your thoughts on this story here.

AvaLayoutJacob

Share this Article


Recent News

Optical Metrology: The key to quality control in additive manufacturing

A New 3D Printing Method: Tethered Pyro-Electrospinning for 3D Printed Microstructures



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing Microstructures for New Drug Delivery Systems with SPHRINT

In the recently published, ‘SPHRINT – Printing Drug Delivery Microspheres from Polymeric Melts,’ authors Tal Shpigel, Almog Uziel, and Dan Y. Lewitus explore better ways to offer sustained release pharmaceuticals...

3D Printing Polymeric Foam with Better Performance & Longevity for Industrial Applications

In the recently published ‘Age-aware constitutive materials model for a 3D printed polymeric foam,’ authors A. Maiti, W. Small, J.P. Lewicki, S.C. Chinn, T.S. Wilson, and A.P. Saab explore the...

Successes In 3D Printing Spinal Implants in Two Complex Cases

In the recently published ‘Challenges in the design and regulatory approval of 3D printed surgical implants: a two-case series,’ authors Koen Willemsen, Razmara Nizak, Herke Jan Noordmans, René M Castelein,...

Modular, Digital Construction System for 3D Printing Lightweight Reinforced Concrete Spatial Structures

Spatial structure systems, like lattices, are efficient load-bearing structures that are easy to adapt geometrically and well-suited for column-free, long-spanning constructions, such as hangars and terminals, and in creating free-form...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Services & Data

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!