Aug.28, 2013

Fossils are the preserved remains of plants and animals whose bodies were buried in sediment under ancient seas, lakes and rivers. These teeth, shells and bones give us a useful insight into the history of life on Earth — they provide a record of how creatures evolved, how continents now widely separated were once connected, and how environments have changed across the face of the globe through geological time.

Fossil type specimens are stored in thousands locations across the world, and it is difficult for people to search across these different catalogues. In addition, fossils are three-dimensional objects with depth and textures, but you can't see them easily over the internet.

But now a new database of fossils launched by British Geological Service could help you find the necessary 3D models of a particular fossil. You can then download and print the images for your own research.

The database is billed as the world's first 3D virtual fossil collection. You can search by taxonomic group, species, genus, geological age, locality, country etc. to find all kinds of fossils.

For the first time, users can browse, zoom in, rotate and download the interactive 3D models and metadata, as well as high-resolution images and Stereo (anaglyph) photographs. The 3D models may be viewed and/or downloaded in PLY and OBJ formats. (PLY format models may be downloaded and viewed using Meshlab or SpiersView software. OBJ format models may be downloaded and viewed using Meshlab, or viewed online in some web browsers.)

These fossils that are included in the database are housed at the National Museum of Wales. The British Geological Survey's fossil collections house an estimated three million specimens, representing most groups of organisms (phyla) with a fossil record, and all geological periods from Neoproterozoic to Recent. Not all of them are made online yet, but photographs and 3D models are being added all the time.

Images: British Geological Service

Tying in with the launch of the database is a "Nationwide Treasure Hunt" contest for 3D-printed fossils that have been hidden among museum displays around the UK. It started on 22nd August and continues for 3 weeks.

Watch below a short movie shows pictures and 3D reproductions of some of the fossils, including Britain's oldest animal, as well as reconstructions of how they looked in life. Best viewed in FULL SCREEN mode.

Source: 3D Fossils


Posted in 3D Design



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Marco Valenzuela 3D Artist wrote at 8/28/2013 11:48:33 PM:

Interesting. I think Kraftwurx could help them to print much higher detail models, with color as well.

ThatGuy wrote at 8/28/2013 6:21:41 PM:

It would be nice if they had common terms in their too. Not everyone knows genus or epoch. I tiled picture page would be helpful. That database is pretty useless to the lay person.

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