Friday, February 10, 2006

3D Museum Now On-Line

Dr. Ryosuke Motani from the University of California and his colleagues have just launched, a website displaying 3D shapes of bones and shells, both fossil and recent.

Whether you are a Mac, Windows, or Linux user, you should be able to play with 3D shapes as long as you have Java enabled (chances are you already have done so).

He hopes that this website will become a useful teaching and PR resources for our field, as the collection grows. Three different 3D file formats are provided, one of which is usable in PowerPoint presentations for your classes (unfortunately, this format (*.3dc) cannot reproduce vertex colors, so the objects are monotone). See the website for details.

The project is a part of an NSF grant, and the website is hosted by the Department of Geology, UC Davis.

Image: A 3D reconstruction of the shoulder girdle of the genus Ichthyosaurus (probably I. communis), used by McGowan and Motani (2003). It is impossible to make the coracoids contact the clavicles, as has been traditionally believed. Go to the web site to manipulate it in 3d space.

Polygon counts: Original 1,157,652; 30,000 before compression
Time: Early Jurassic(Sinemurian?)
Locality: Dorset, UK
Specimen: Cast