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Re: Tomography For Fossil Hunting

> >     Oh, I get it. You're staking your position in
> line to get your
> > hands on an early example, aren't you? <G>
> No, however, it would be interesting if this became
> cheap enough to
> be a consumer item...

There are some bone slabs we have from the UK early
cretaceous that are very difficult to prepare, but we
know contain more bone. Tomogrpahy technigues would be
really handy to be able to scan the blocks to see
where the underlying bones actually are.

On another note..

I always wondered about the potential for this sort of
thing, not just in field studies, but also in
reconstructing exploded specimens.

I've been told that computers were used to analyse the
fracture face geometry of building stones recovered
from a German church (destroyed WW2). the faces were
allied, and much of the buiding restored.

I don't know how true this story is, but I would have
thought that it is theoretically possible to use
hi-res CT to scan exploded fossil bone, then use a
computer to analyse both fracture face topography and
the pattern of blood vessels / internal cavities to
realign, and thus recontruct, broken bones. You would
need some cleverly programmed algorhythms that could
search and ally broken faces.. but it really shouldn't
prove impossible to do.

If might be simple to shovel up damaged bone in the
field, put it on a tray, scan it into the CT, then let
the computer do all the jigsaw work. The use of
internal vessel structure information would allow for
allying even across fractures that had missing gaps
(this technique is visually used alot by those of us
working on coastal exposures where fossils are very
often found in multi-sections, some abraded by the

I always wondered as to the extent of damage incurred
to the many type specimens lost in bombing raids
during WW2. Really, most rocks (and thus fossils) are
pretty difficult things to destroy completely. I would
imagine that at least some of the panel-mount
plesiosaurs (essentially 2D) destroyed in Bristol
would have been fixable had their broken pieces been
collected. Maybe it was a 'needle in a haystack'
scenario, and not practical at the time, especially
considering the considerable debris, and the dange

Does make you wonder though. If someone can think of a
military use for this sort of thing maybe it would get


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