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Virtual paleontology: computer-aided analysis of fossil form and function

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2015

Imran A. Rahman
Affiliation:
School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, UK, <imran.rahman@bristol.ac.uk>
Selena Y. Smith
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA <sysmith@umich.edu>
Corresponding

Extract

‘Virtual paleontology’ entails the use of computational methods to assist in the three-dimensional (3-D) visualization and analysis of fossils, and has emerged as a powerful approach for research on the history of life. Three-dimensional imaging techniques allow poorly understood or previously unknown anatomies of fossil plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates, as well as microfossils and trace fossils, to be described in much greater detail than formerly possible, and are applicable to a wide range of preservation types and specimen sizes (Table 1). These methods include non-destructive high-resolution scanning technologies such as conventional X-ray micro-tomography and synchrotron-based X-ray tomography. In addition, form and function can be rigorously investigated through quantitative analysis of computer models, for example finite-element analysis.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

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References

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