Digital lab for quickly visualizing and segmenting complex paleontological, archeological and anthropological specimens and artifacts.
Paleontologists and comparative biologists increasingly use volumetric imaging to enable exciting discoveries. Thermo Scientific™ Avizo™ Software offers a suite of trusted digital tools for viewing, digitally dissecting, and measuring such 3D data. Compelling animations and publication-quality figures can be rendered from data segmented using manual and automated tools. Texture classification and deep learning assist with challenging segmentation of bone from matrix or labeling contrast-enhanced CT. Routine tasks, such as trabecular bone analysis and endocast extraction, can be automated and shared as reproducible recipes. Interactive image processing with Image Stack Processing quantitatively measures microanatomy from thin section paleohistology. Extensions to Avizo Software enable quick tetra meshing for FEA and sophisticated DVC for biomechanics. Surfaces extracted from CT data can be viewed, edited, and optimized for 3D printing or digital sharing. Overall, Avizo Software provides a complete digital suite for these increasingly digital sciences.
X-ray phase-contrast synchrotron microtomography was used by archaeologists and palaeontologists at the ESRF to visualize the desiccation process in a young crocodile that unexpectedly died at “la ferme aux crocodiles” de Pierrelattes. The aim was to understand whether this process alone could explain the state of preservation usually observed in small Egyptian mummies of crocodiles.
Acknowledgements: Paul Tafforeau & Camille Berruyer, ESRF, Grenoble ; The instrumentation facility BM05, ESRF, Grenoble ; La ferme aux crocodiles, Pierrelatte
"Flying squirrels are the only group of gliding mammals with a remarkable diversity and wide geographical range. However, their evolutionary story is not well known. Thus far, identification of extinct flying squirrels has been exclusively based on dental features, which, contrary to certain postcranial characters, are not unique to them. Therefore, fossils attributed to this clade may indeed belong to other squirrel groups."
"We found well-preserved three-dimensional anatomy in mineralized arthropods from Paleogene fissure fillings and demonstrate the value of these fossils by utilizing digitally reconstructed anatomical structure of a hister beetle. The new anatomical data facilitate a refinement of the species diagnosis and allowed us to reject a previous hypothesis of close phylogenetic relationship to an extant congeneric species. Our findings suggest that mineralized fossils, even those of macroscopically poor preservation, constitute a rich but yet largely unexploited source of anatomical data for fossil arthropods."