3D Printing and Dinosaurs

3D Printing and Dinosaurs

Bones of dinosaurs have long been excavated since China’s Western Jin Dynasty in 265-420 A.D. but their true kind was not known. To the discoverers, they were thought to be dragon bones and were recorded as such. In Europe, dinosaur bones that were unearth were deemed to be skeletons of giants and other biblical beasts. It was only in early 1800s that geologists broadly described their findings and published them in scientific journals. The study of these fossilized creatures soon became of immense significance to scientists in Europe and America. English naturalist Richard Owen coined the term "dinosaur" in 1842.


The more we study dinosaurs, the more we recognize there’s so much more to discover. Which theory on the extinction of dinosaurs is accurate? What caused this mass extinction that killed these animals while most mammals, frogs, turtles, salamanders, and crocodiles survived? Even, birds lived. So did starfishes, snails, clams, oysters, and sea urchins.


Modern findings have made it more challenging to come up with a collectively agreed-upon list of dinosaurs' distinguishing qualities. What habits, features, and characteristics did they possess? The issue of dinosaur brain power is fiercely discussed among paleontologists. Some scientists doubted the brain power of dinosaurs, although others deemed dinosaurs to be more intelligent than reptiles but less than the modern mammal. If humans are able to study a dinosaur skull comprehensively, it can reveal more.


3D printing is helping a team of German researchers to study a 66.4-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skull fossil, which was unearth in Montana in 2013. The fossil is one of the fully intact and well-preserved T-Rex fossils, only missing the end of its tail, one leg, the claws and teeth. The German team plans to work on the actual T-rex skull fossil using 3D scanning and printing to get a better idea of the creature’s intelligence quotient.


Regrettably for experts, the T-rex brain is almost indiscernible, but the inside of the skull’s shape establishes the highly developed brain areas. Examining brain areas can show, for instance, if the eyesight of a T-Rex was weak, fair, or outstanding, as well as other traits. The scan also aids in rebuilding the skull, which is where 3D printing comes in by showing fractures and replacing missing parts of the jaw using 3D printing. Because of 3D printing’s ability to tailor restored jaw parts for the skull to be finished, it has been easier for researchers to get a complete idea of other T-rex characteristics related to the question of intelligence.


We often label 3D printing as a technology of the future; however, with research functions such as this, we can also describe 3D printing as a technology of the far-distant past! 3D printing has given the promise of developing a better comprehension of these grand creatures, and sooner or later discover why they are no longer with us.