3D Astronomy and ancient bones

The 3D reconstruction of dynosaur skeletons from fossil bones found scattered in the ground.

The 3D reconstruction of dinosaur skeletons from fossil bones found scattered in the ground contains an impressive amount of information about the animal.

Although this science goes a lot further, our image of paleontology is kind of like this: someone finds a bunch of bones showing in the ground by chance or during a systematic dig. Then a very thorough extraction of the skeleton leads to a collection of bones in the lab. These parts are then arranged together in 3D space in order to obtain the basic 3D structure of the animal that once roamed the surface. Then we can walk around them in a museum in awe about their size and strangeness. For the scientists, there is much more to the skeleton though. The individual bones often tell most of the story that has been hidden in the rocks for ages. A classification is often already possible. But only the arrangement of the bones in 3D space, produces a clear idea of the animal┬┤s anatomy and function, especially to the non-expert.┬áBased on this arrangement, a “theory” of how the animal functioned and lived can then be build … and blockbuster movies, of course. Any similarity with reconstructive 3D astrophysics is not a coincidence. Continue reading

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