MECHANICAL DIGITIZING FOR PALEONTOLOGY
- NEW AND IMPROVED TECHNIQUES
Three-dimensional digitized representations of bones offer several advantages over real bones or casts. However, creation of 3D files can be time consuming and expensive, and the resulting files are difficult to handle due to their size. Mechanical digitizing was hitherto limited to large bones. Here, new and improved data collection techniques for mechanical digitizers are described, facilitating file creation and editing. These include:
- Improvements to the in-program digitizing procedure, reducing time and financial demands.
- Specifics for an easy to assemble and transportable holder for small fossils.
- A significant increase in the size range of digitizable bones, allowing both exact digitizing of bones only a few centimeters long and bones larger than the range of the digitizer. This increase allows the study of assemblages including both small and large bones.
- Complex shapes such as costae and vertebrae can now be digitized with ease.
- Step-by-step directions for digitizer and program use to facilitate easy acquisition of the techniques.
3D-files of fossils digitized with these methods can be added to online databases easily, as small-scale preview and complete files. The file formats are common and the file sizes relatively small in comparison to CT or laser-scan data. Pointcloud files can be used interchangeably with laser-scan files of similar resolution. Other possible uses for mechanical digitizing data are described.
Additionally, techniques to extract and edit comparable data from CT scans are briefly described. CT-based data is used to check the accuracy of mechanically digitized data.
KEYWORDS: mechanical digitizing; methods; computer; vertebrates
PE Article Number: 12.2.4T
Copyright: Society for Vertebrate Paleontology August 2009
Submission: 22 December 2008. Acceptance: 3 May 2009