Aug 20, 2017 | Updated: 10:39 AM EDT

Paleontologist Uses Virtual Reality To Learn About The Evolution Of Dinosaurs

May 02, 2017 05:53 PM EDT

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File photo of dinosaur replica
(Photo : Nicky Loh/Getty Images)

Scientists recreated dinosaurs using virtual reality technology to reveal more data about the relationship between dinosaurs and the birds. The technology is used to create an interactive hologram to understand the evolution process of dinosaurs.

The Professor of Biology at the University of South Florida, Ryan Carney, uses the virtual reality to reconstruct the specimens of Archaeopteryx, which believed to be the missing link between dinosaurs and birds. According to Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies, or CVAST at the University of South Florida, professor Carney digitized the fossils of Archaeopteryx using X-ray, lasers, and photogrammetry. He later recreated the fossils using virtual reality, augmented reality and computer animation.

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Professor Carney and his team first took the X-ray picture of the Archaeopteryx fossils using the X-ray micro tomosynthesis instrument. Later, they reconstructed the fossils using the 3D photogrammetric. The result is an interactive hologram of dinosaurs, which can be used for fellow paleontologists and students to interact with the dinosaurs in the 3D model.

His work in Archaeopteryx reconstruction was funded by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, and Waitt Foundation. The National Geographic Society recently inducted Professor Carney into the 2017 Emerging Explorers for his research in paleontology. Upon his induction, he received a $10,000 grant for his research and exploration.

Archaeopteryx is believed to be the missing link between dinosaurs and the modern day bird. Paleontologists predicted Archaeopteryx lived in the early Tithonian era of the Jurassic period, approximately 150 million years ago.

There are only 12 fossils of the Archaeopteryx found so far. From the fossils, experts view Archaeopteryx as the transitional fossils between dinosaurs and avian. Its fossils show a resemblance with the modern day birds, but it still has its reptilian features from the dinosaurs.

The 3D reconstruction of Archaeopteryx opens a new perspective to understand the link between the creatures and modern birds. Watch two of videos that explain how Professor Carney reconstructed the fossils into a digital hologram below:


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