News / Science & Technology

Famous Dinosaur Chase Reconstructed in 3-D

Famous Dinosaur Chase Reconstructed in 3-Di
X
April 02, 2014 7:36 PM
Peter Falkingham, with London's Royal Veterinary College, on the 3-D imaging reconstruction of an ancient fossilized dinosaur chase.

Peter Falkingham, with London's Royal Veterinary College, discusses the 3-D imaging reconstruction of an ancient fossilized dinosaur chase.

Rosanne Skirble
A British research team has used 3-D imaging to reconstruct the entire route of the most famous fossilized dinosaur tracks ever, a so-called chase scene that was broken up and its pieces put into museums nearly 70 years ago.

Our story begins along a riverbed, about 120 million years ago in the age of the big dinosaurs. A large meat-eating three-toed theropod races close behind a long-neck sauropod, perhaps hungry for his dinner. Their feet press into the mud as they run, and after millions of years their fossil footprints are discovered along the Paluxy River in Glen Rose, Texas.
    
In 1940, those tracks were sent to museums but some were lost in transit.
 
Famous Dinosaur Chase Reconstructed in 3-D
Famous Dinosaur Chase Reconstructed in 3-Di
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Peter Falkingham, with London's Royal Veterinary College, and colleagues wanted to put the entire 45-meter long scene back together.

“As you can imagine a really long trackway from a dinosaur tells a lot more than two or three steps do,” Falkingham said.  

The researchers used 17 photos and hand-drawn maps from Roland T. Bird’s 1940 excavation, coupled with 21st century technology called photogrammetry.

“Which is where you take several digital photographs of an object from multiple positions and the software looks for features in those photographs, matches those features and then basically uses math to figure out the camera positions," Falkingham said. "If we have lots of cameras we can get a 3-D model.”  
 
  • Workers in the trenches on Roland T. Bird’s massive excavation in 1940. (R.T. Bird from the Collections of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin)
  • Footprints in the mud from more than 100 million years ago are the tracks of the three-toed theropod (left) and the broader-footed sauropod (right) in bed of Paluxy River, Texas. (R.T. Bird from the Collections of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin)
  • The chase tracks were divided into segments and shipped off to different museums. (R.T. Bird from the Collections of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin)
  • American Paleontologist Roland T. Bird's handwritten notes on the dinosaur tracks for the 1940 excavation. (R.T. Bird from the Collections of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin)
  • Roland T. Bird’s original drawings of  the excavation site. (PLOS ONE, Falkingham, et.al.)
  • A comparison between Bird’s original sketches and the digital reconstruction. (PLOS ONE, Falkingham, et.al.)
  • Scientists scanned historic photos to develop the new 3-D mode. Credit: PLOS ONE Falkingham et.al
  • 1.Peter Falkingham, of London’s Royal Veterinary College, on the Paluxy River in Texas. He shot the digital photos used to build 3D models of dinosaur tracks. (Peter Falkingham).
  • Peter Falkingham on the Paluxy River, Texas. (Peter Falkingham)

They describe that model in the journal PLOS ONE.

“We can see both the theropod and the sauropod trackway coming down the trench that is being excavated out by Bird and his team," Falkingham said. "We can see the sand bags at the end where they were keeping the river off the tracks that they were excavating. Yeah, we can basically see everything that you could see in the photographs, but now we can see it in 3-D from many angles.”

While photogrammetry is gaining popularity in archeology, paleontology and other fields, Falkingham's study breaks new ground beyond a launch pad for future work.

“What we have done here, as far as I can tell for the first time, is reconstruct something that does not exist anymore, at least in that form and that is pretty exciting because museums hold tens of thousands of specimens and inevitably some get lost and damaged,” he said.

Falkingham says with photo documentation, what can follow are 3-D images and even 3-D printing to create the objects to study both physically and digitally.   

But, for now if people want to see that famous dino chase from 120 million years ago, 3D technology can take them there.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Charles Weber from: USA
April 18, 2014 6:03 AM
Two legged dinosaurs are portrayed in museums and television with their bodies held horizontally and their legs vertical. This is not at all possible because their center of gravity is above their hip bone (or forward of the hip when the body is horizontal). If they had attempted to walk horizontally with their legs vertical they would have toppled forward and protected themselves from impact with the upper part of their huge head. Almost certainly they walked almost erect, but at least at a 45 degree angle, often with the tail held aloft in order to prevent tripping by thrusting it back and to prevent an assailant from jumping on their back. To see a discussion of this see http://charles_w.tripod.com/dinosaur.html or in this journal article http://gsjournal.net/Science-Journals/Essays-Paleontology/Download/4718 . If you see any errors in them, please let me know. You may also see an explanation why vertebrate size, extent of bone, and teeth declined during the Cretaceous on the savannas in http://www.angelfire.com/nc/isoptera/termites.html as caused by a phosphorus famine produced by Amitermitinae plant smothering termites starting probably in late Jurassic Australia. Loss of teeth was probably much accented in birds and pterosaurs because of the young eating termite mating insects which had iron oxide and bauxite in their guts.
Sincerely, Charles Weber

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid