In 1999, near the Cape Verde Islands, “an unusually large Caulophryne pelagica [anglerfish] was captured in perfect condition, due perhaps to a lethargy induced by a prodigious meal which had expanded the stomach in excess of the standard length.” Not long after, the rare, deep-sea specimen was a part of the Natural History Museum's collection in London.
There’s a cliff wall full of 70 million year old dinosaur footprints in Spain’s Pyrenees mountains, just a 1.5 hour drive north from Barcelona. In this episode of Jurassic CSI, Walk Like a Dinosaur, Dr. Phil Manning, head of Paleontology Research Group at University of Manchester, joins paleontologists from The Catalan Institute of Paleontology as they climb down the former mud plain to measure the extremely fragile footprints by hand. They also use long range LiDAR 3D scanning to capture the rock face and later calculate the animals’ dimensions, how fast they might have walked, and more.
"For years and years, vertebrate paleontologists have really been confined to working with the shapes, with the morphology, of bones and with skeletons, as you can see behind me here. And our hypotheses about how these ancient animals lived and moved was based on how we could put these bones together in the physical world.
"And now for the first time in the history of paleontology, we’re able to move beyond those methods and into this virtual landscape where we can test our biomechanical hypotheses in rigorous ways that were never possible before."
In February 2012, Dr. Lacovara’s paleontology department teamed up with the University’s engineering department to scan their fossils to make 3D models that could be made into fully working arms and legs. Wrap some engineered muscles around those… add more parts… and perhaps we’ve got the most accurate robot dinosaur ever made!