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Re: laser scanning fossils

I had replied to this privately, but might as well make it more direct.

There is laser-scanning technology, but it ain't cheap. The system consists of 
a box-shaped scanner on a tripod, a built-in digital camera, and a rotating 
plateform upon which the fossil sits (other systems have the camera move and 
the fossil stationary). The object rotates and the laser bounces off the 
surface (cylindrical scan). Since the fossil is a partial 3-D, (the part of the 
fossil is lying on the platform is hidden), software is used to patch the two 
recordings together (matching landmarks) into one 3-D object that can be 
rotated on the screen. 

The resolution is much better than looking like "candy" since the data can be 
used to replicate the fossil in extrudible plastic (some systems scan down in 
the tens of microns range). However, that fine detail is not necessary when the 
point of the talk at SVP is how the neck (for example) moves. Also, more 
detailed resolution takes a LONNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGEEEEERRRRR time.

Systems cost tens of thousands (US) dollars, the software not being cheap. If 
interested in more detail, I suggest that you do a Google search using 'Optical 
Digitizing laser' as the search words.


>>>>>>> Saw examples of same at the SVP conference. Resolution is the
issue, apparently, because the examples shown looked like candy. But the
great thing about it is that skewed fossils can become unskewed through
a graphic reversal process.

David Peters


I was wondering if anyone could help me, I have a few questions about
technology and the recording of fossils.  I'm currently doing my PhD on
fossisl proteciton in Australia, and I was wondering if there are any
examples of important specimens (such as hlotypes) being held in
hands but are recorded in a registry?  Also, with regards to holotypes,
there much use of laser technology to record details? ie scanning the
fossils, and using that as a database instead of physically holding the
specimen.  Is this feasible?

Feel free to reply off list, (jodie.houston@anu.edu.au)



Jodie Houston
Regulatory Institutions Network
Research School of Social Sciences

Ph (02) 61253293

Live fast, die young, leave a good looking fossil!