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Computer-aided paleontology: a new look for dinosaurs

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1 Author(s)

Over the past 150 years, our perception of how dinosaurs looked has changed on the basis of museum displays and artists' renditions. Reproductions of lumbering dinosaurs at London's Crystal Palace during the mid 1800s look little like the creatures in the 40-year-old murals at Yale University's Peabody Museum of Natural History, or the computer-animated images of agile animals depicted in the Jurassic Park movies and recent television documentaries. Now, researchers are combining techniques from computer-aided design, rapid prototyping, and biomechanics to develop more accurate theories of dinosaurs' posture and movements. This information will affect paleontologists' concepts of how the animals lived and what they ate. Perhaps the most notable example of this synergy of paleontology and computing-related fields has been the restoration of the Smithsonian Institution's trademark dinosaur -a triceratops mounted some 90 years ago - as part of a refurbishing of the dinosaur hall in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC

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Computing in Science & Engineering  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 1 )