With all of the excitement surrounding the release of Jurrasic World, it only makes sense to tie dinosaurs in with the latest and greatest technology.
What we mean by this is the innovation of 3D printing is now being mixed with a new study of the intelligence of the 66.4 million-year old Tyrannosaurus rex (T-rex).
To this day, many people still wonder why dinosaurs became extinct and obviously the answer to that question isn’t an easy one.
That’s why a German research team wanted to take their pre-historic research to a new level and study the qualities, characteristics and habits of these beasts.
So, the research team started off with one question, “How smart was a Tyrannosaurus rex, anyway?”
In order to even try to answer that question, the team turned their efforts to an actual T-rex skull fossil, which they then scanned and 3D printed for a Better Way to learn about the T-rex’s intelligence.
The skull fossil was scanned using a machine called an XXL tomograph. This machine is the largest in the world and is located at Germany’s Fraunhofer-Institut. Thanks to its 1,500 separate exposures, the machine has created what is thought to be “the highest resolution scan ever conducted on a T-rex skull.”
Though the researchers have the skull, they do not have the T-rex brain. However, the inside of the skull’s shape reveals the highly-developed brain areas.
By studying these areas, researchers will be able to uncover information like whether the T-rex had poor eyesight, among other qualities.
Furthermore, the scan also helps in the efforts to restore the skull.
Thanks to the ability to conduct a complete scan of the skull, the research team has been able to uncover fractures and reconstruct the missing parts of the jaw.
The technology of 3D printing has enabled the team to customize replacement jaw parts in order to complete the skull.
As of right now, the jury is still out regarding the overall qualities and intelligence of the T-rex.
Copyright Davison, 2015