62nd Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra50231146001635 Tamil Nadu162778324112 Gujarat140636412858 Delhi134186540261 Rajasthan70283848163 Madhya Pradesh66653408290 Uttar Pradesh62683538161 West Bengal36671339272 Andhra Pradesh2780184156 Bihar257470211 Karnataka208965442 Punjab2060189840 Telangana1854109253 Jammu and Kashmir162180921 Odisha13365507 Haryana118476516 Kerala8485206 Assam393584 Jharkhand3701484 Uttarakhand317583 Chandigarh2621794 Chhatisgarh252640 Himachal Pradesh203594 Tripura1941650 Goa66160 Puducherry41120 Manipur3220 Meghalaya14121 Arunachal Pradesh210 Mizoram110 Sikkim100
Lifestyle Environment 14 Jan 2018 Enthusiasts can digi ...

Enthusiasts can digitally replicate the skull of a 200-million-year-old dinosaur

Published Jan 14, 2018, 5:15 pm IST
Updated Jan 14, 2018, 5:15 pm IST
Researchers used CT scans to peer inside the skull of the dinosaur Massospondylus.
Researchers used CT scans to peer inside the skull of the dinosaur Massospondylus. (Photo: Pixabay)
 Researchers used CT scans to peer inside the skull of the dinosaur Massospondylus. (Photo: Pixabay)

Scientists have created a digital reconstruction of the skull of a 200-million-year-old South African dinosaur, which will allow enthusiasts all over the world to make 3D prints of the fossil at home.

The researchers from University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa hope that this will facilitate research on the dinosaur called Massospondylus, as well as others.


Researchers used CT scans to peer inside the skull of the dinosaur Massospondylus.

They were able to rebuild every bone of Massospondylus's cranium, and to even look at tiny features like nerves exiting the brain and the balance organs of the inner ear.

Along with the study published in the journal PeerJ, a 3D surface file of the skull can be downloaded.

"This means any researcher or member of the public can print their own Massospondylus skull at home," said Kimi Chapelle, a PhD student at University of the Witwatersrand.

Massospondylus is one of the most famous dinosaurs from South Africa and was named in 1854 by the celebrated anatomist Sir Richard Owen.

Fossils of Massospondylus have been found in many places in South Africa, including Golden Gate National Park, where James Kitching discovered fossil eggs and embryos in 1976.

However, the skull of Massospondylus has never been the focus of an in-depth anatomical investigation.

"I was amazed when I started digitally reconstructing Massospondylus' skull, and found all these features that had never been described," said Chapelle.

"It just goes to show that researchers still have a lot to learn about South Africa's dinosaurs," she said.

"By comparing the inner ear to that of other dinosaurs, we can try and interpret things like how they held their heads and how they moved," said Chapelle.

"You can actually see tiny replacement teeth in the bones of the jaws, showing us that Massospondylus continuously replaced its teeth, like crocodiles do, but unlike humans that can only do it once," she added.

The bones of the braincase are not fully fused, which means that this particular fossil is that of an individual that is not fully grown yet.

"This allows us to understand how Massospondylus grew, how fast it grew and how big it could grow," Chapelle added.

Hundreds of Massospondylus fossils have been found in South Africa, ranging in size from hatchlings to adult.

Chapelle is using CT technology to study these additional fossils.