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Reconstruction of human fossils

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2 Author(s)
Kalvin, A.D. ; IBM Thomas J. Watson Res. Center, Yorktown Heights, NY ; Dean, D.

Paleoanthropologists rarely discover complete and undamaged vertebrate fossils. The original bones may have been torn apart by carnivores, and the fossils further broken down and scattered by geological processes and weathering. A thorough study of specimens generally requires reassembling the original fossil shape as accurately as possible from the broken pieces. Furthermore, since very few fossil fragments belong to a single individual, paleoanthropologists often make composite reconstructions, using pieces that come from many individuals. Thus, reconstructing damaged fossils is somewhat like solving a 3D jigsaw puzzle, in which many of the pieces are missing or deformed. The authors consider how the Computer-Assisted Anthropology system helps paleoanthropologists reconstruct fossils electronically by providing tools to display, manipulate, and measure fossil specimens on screen. The CAA system was built using IBM Visualization Data Explorer, a toolkit for analysis and visualization. Since the CAA system works with computed tomography (CT) scans of the fossils, it can extract embedded fragments nondestructively, using image processing to segment out the matrix

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 1 )