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DigiMorph: Bringing Fossils to Life -- Science Nation

DigiMorph: Bringing Fossils to Life

High tech x-ray scanning equipment has opened up a whole new world to scientists studying delicate specimens such as fossils, skeletons and ancient manuscripts. It's called "high resolution x-Ray computed tomography," and it essentially allows researchers to see the inside of a fossil in 3-D without actually disturbing the fossil. The scans are conducted at the Digital Morphology Library at UT Austin, part of the National Science Foundation's Digital Libraries Initiative. One recent example of scientific discovery that would not have been possible without these high tech tools is the case of the "elephant bird." Scientists are obviously reluctant to open ancient, unbroken eggs. But, by using this high resolution x-ray technique, a non-destructive method, researchers were able to observe, photograph and reconstruct an embryonic skeleton of this bird, describing this huge bird in ways never before possible.

Credit: National Science Foundation

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