Rare dinosaur fossil found in U.S. gets CT scan to build 3D model

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — This is only the third time the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center has used CT scanning, but it’s very informative.

“In the past, the way we would have done something like this is we would have taken the skull, and we would have probably molded it just as it sits,” said Jacob Jett, fossil preparer for the Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park

That would cause damage to the fossil itself.

“We would see all the bones as they were, but we wouldn’t see all the internal structure in the end. The palate bones, you wouldn’t see the brain case. There’d be a lot that you would miss out on. What you would see would be correct, but you wouldn’t get to see everything,” Jett said.

Experts say this is the first confirmed good specimen of a corythosaurus skull from the U.S., making it a rare find.

“Before now, they speculated primarily that they should have been found south of what is now the Canadian border, but until this specimen it was mostly speculation,” said Jared Hudson, president of In the Beginning Fossils Inc.

At roughly 80 million years old, this skull was found in the Judith River Formation in Montana this summer.

“The skull was eroding out, the back of the skull edge. So, we dug in and actually took equipment in and took the hill down,” Hudson said.

Through CT scans, paleontologists can create 3D models of fossils with much more detail. It’s technology that can expand the range of what can be put on display.

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