Three-dimensional (3D) modeling has always been an important part of paleontological research and interpretation though digital reproductions of fossils are a recent phenomena. A highly accurate, interactive, 100 μm resolution, 3D, digital model of a fossilized basisphenoid-basioccipital from a juvenile Tylosaurus sp. mosasaur was generated using a 3D laser scanner and manipulated using VRML and InnovMetric polygon files. This 3D model supports varying levels of magnification depending on the initial scan resolution and the amount of post-production polygon reduction. The generation of these 3D models is relatively simple because the software and technology for their generation is relatively mature. At present, complex 3D models require powerful computers in order to manipulate their computer graphic substructures. But, as computer technology improves, digital 3D scanning could prove invaluable for creating and sharing virtual copies of fossil material. Primary results of this study indicate that for most paleontological applications a 100μm scan resolution is acceptable. Copyright: Society for Vertebrate Paleontology, 15 November 2000.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Model, Mosasaur, Three-dimensional (3D), Virtual reality, VRML
Journal Palaeontologia Electronica
Citation
Lyons, P.D. (Patrick D.), Rioux, M. (Marc), & Patterson, T. (2000). Application of a three-dimensional color laser scanner to paleontology: An interactive model of a juvenile Tylosaurus SP. Basisphenoid-basioccipital. Palaeontologia Electronica, 3(2).