High-tech tools reveal opalized fossil skeleton

High-tech tools reveal opalized fossil skeleton
A reconstruction of what this small dinosaur may have looked like. Credit: James McKinnon

Scientists from Flinders University are utilizing a miniature CT scanner and 3D printing to reproduce a little dinosaur safeguarded as opal for in excess of 100 million years in white sandstone rocks.

Using 21st-century technology to study of this ancient creature will allow the experts to investigate the rare fossil, and perhaps discover a new kind of Australian dinosaur.

“We’re using the Flinders CT Scanning Facility at Tonsley to look inside lumps of rock that contain the remains of a small dinosaur,” says lead researcher Associate Professor Paul Willis, from the College of Science and Engineering.

“Once we have reconstructed the scans into 3D virtual models, we can print them out with a 3D printer so we can see the bones still hidden inside the rock.”

The dinosaur being referred to is a plant-eating hypsilophodont (little, running herbivore) dinosaur from Lightning Ridge, NSW, that was put something aside for science back in 2019.

Related to the Australian Opal Center at Lightning Ridge and the Paleo Pictures narrative group drove by Associate Professor Willis, the reproduced dinosaur will be rescued and resuscitated so that people in the future could see.

Fossils from Lightning Ridge are frequently protected as dismal and worthless potch or normal opal yet sporadically they can be made out of valuable opal, including the valued Black Opal, and can be surpassing high in esteem. In any case, Associate Professor Willis says generally fossil examples are “beyond value” to scientists and utilizing the furthest down the line innovation will remove a large part of the mystery from figuring out the old creature’s story.

Ongoing outputs of a portion of the pieces rescued by opal diggers at Lightning Ridge show that the bone inside is safeguarded in flawless detail and the cycle has proactively started of 3D printing the most fascinating examples, he says.

“Besides the fact that the outputs permit us to more readily see precisely exact thing we have as a dinosaur skeleton, they will be an important guide to the following phase of concentrating on this example, by eliminating the encompassing stone.”

“Preceding utilizing filters on examples like this, the expulsion of encompassing stone was a lot of an instance of ‘doing in dazzle,’ feeling our direction in to uncover the bones.

“Now we can do that with more confidence because we know where the rock stops and the bone starts.”

With only around 20% of the specimens scanned so far, this project has a way to go before the preparation process can begin.

Once that is completed, a detailed study of the skeleton (assisted by the scan data) will reveal if this is a new species of dinosaur as well as details about how it lived and died.

Provided by Flinders University

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