I didn’t think that we were gonna go as far
as to make dinosaurs with 3D printing. We’re literally printing a skeleton. “Capturing Dinosaurs” is the first time the
Museum has tried to use digital fabrication as a way to teach young people about science,
specifically about paleontology. They’re being given a group of real fossils. Along with
these bones they’re being given the tools to create 3D models of them. What’s really cool and sort of unique about
this program is you get to go to places that the public do not have access to normally.
You also get to meet real scientists. We got to see where they prep the fossils.
We got to see all the places they scan 3D in the Museum. We got to see all this really
cool stuff I never even knew they had. Just to be able to say that you held a dinosaur
fossil—it was exciting. The Paleontology Department was kind enough
to give us a lot of the bones from Allosaurus, which is from the Jurassic. Part of the Program
was that we did not tell them the animal that they were scanning, so part of the puzzle
was looking at the bones that they were scanning, and trying to figure out which dinosaur does
it come from. A lot of students thought it was T-Rex, some thought it came from a long-necked
sauropod. Our classroom is actually the Museum of Natural
History. The students are able to go out into the halls and look at the actual exhibits
when they have a question about, for instance, how did the Allosaurus hold its hands? The youth took literally between five to six
thousand photos, which were then turned into about 150 different models. Every time they
were taking a photo, every time they looked at a model, every time they tried to stitch
those models together, they were looking with careful detail at minute aspects of those
bones—the same thing that paleontologists do. It really taught me how paleontologists reconstruct
and study dinosaurs and how they have to deal with disarticulated bones from different individuals,
and broken bones. I didn’t expect to see what we put together
to actually come out. It was really precise. The fact that I was able to remake the bones
was really exciting and amazing. It has inspired me to maybe one day even go
to college for paleontology. I always thought that I wanted to work with technology, but
now after doing this I learned that I can do both of them together, that I fell that
I can—I can do this.