×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

3D-Printed Dinosaur Bones "Like Gutenberg's Printing Press" For Paleontologists

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the dig-and-click dept.

Science 39

Philip Ross writes "Uses for 3D printers are more widespread than ever, but researchers in Germany are expanding 3D-printing territory even further. For the first time ever, scientists from the Department of Radiology at Charité Campus Mitte in Berlin have recreated dinosaur fossils from blueprints made by computed tomography, or CT, scans. The ability to scan and 3D-print dinosaur fossils could have wide-ranging applications for not only paleontologists but also educators and private collectors alike."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

39 comments

3D print my boner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45478023)

Future generations deserve to see and feel My gargantuan member firsthand.

Re:3D print my boner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45478527)

We need to 3d-print a microscope first.

Re:3D print my boner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45478737)

Why? Do we need to inspect your brain?

Why Dig? (0)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 months ago | (#45478041)

Seems like a no-brainer to me. Why go out and dig up fossils when you can just print up a dino-bone. Gap in the fossil record? No problem. Just print up the missing link using a 3d morphing tool and be famous.

Re:Why Dig? (0)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 5 months ago | (#45478061)

Seems like a no-brainer to me. Why go out and dig up fossils when you can just print up a dino-bone. Gap in the fossil record? No problem. Just print up the missing link using a 3d morphing tool and be famous.

Except, you know, carbon dating, Mineral analysis, etc.

Re:Why Dig? (3, Funny)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 5 months ago | (#45478111)

Seems like a no-brainer to me. Why go out and dig up fossils when you can just print up a dino-bone. Gap in the fossil record? No problem. Just print up the missing link using a 3d morphing tool and be famous.

... and if you do carbon dating of the petroleum products used to make the plastic bones, they're both the APPROXIMATELY the same age, right?

Re:Why Dig? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45478311)

maybe we can use nigger bones as a substitute. grind them to dust and recast with plaster and viola, dino bones. on the up side we have no shortage of niggers, niggers reproduce even faster than they can (gangsta) shoot each other (that's fucking FAST), and no one will miss them except maybe the police in major inner cities who will get very bored from the reduced violent crime rate and might lose their jobs. and nothing would piss off the bedwetting libs more. it's a win-win-win!

Re:Why Dig? (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 5 months ago | (#45478225)

You don't understand. You have a complete 3D model of a chunk of thigh bone, but you will not be able to create a full visualization of its owner until you can use it to club your detractors.

Because screens and CAD tools are just confusing to paleontologists, I guess...

Re:Why Dig? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 5 months ago | (#45479365)

yes, exactly this.

if something is like gutenbergs printing press for these and other guys it is the internet and computers.

3d printing is more like having sculptors really cheap.

Re:Why Dig? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 months ago | (#45482877)

if something is like gutenbergs printing press for these and other guys it is the internet and computers. 3d printing is more like having sculptors really cheap.

3D printing is to sculptors what the Gutenberg press was to scribes, and what computers were to computers (before electronic computers, a "computer" was a person hired to perform math).

You can already make cheap sculptures out of ceramics, this is no different -- an actual sculptor has to sculpt the original your printer is copying, just as Gutenberg needed scribes and typesetters.

Re:Why Dig? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 5 months ago | (#45478957)

I thought there was already a story about doing exactly that on slashdot? like, taking a piece, taking some sw and extrapolating the rest of the animal from that piece with fancy algos(that just matched it to a similar animal and made up some differing pieces).

Perfect for a great april's fool joke (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 months ago | (#45478121)

Print enough bones, take your DeLorean and plant them around the sites the first paleontologist would find ones. Then history would be rewritten and all would believe now that dinosaur were made of plastic, and thats how oil got made.

Re:Perfect for a great april's fool joke (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 5 months ago | (#45479399)

Or mutate a dinosaur cell so that it rapidly replicates, then let it grow over the skeleton, which you printed in metal, and...

Wolverex!

Collectors? (4, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 5 months ago | (#45478143)

Because what private collectors interested in rare antiquities want is a plastic copy....

Paleontologists, sure. While there's no shortage of fossilized dinosaur bones, there are particular species that are in short supply. I can also see this being very useful for anyone who has a theory about assembling a skeleton that differs from the currently accepted model who wants to experiment without handling (and therefore potentially damaging) the real thing.

But not collectors.

Re:Collectors? (2)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | about 5 months ago | (#45478279)

I'd pay for a 1:4 size raptor skeleton in plastic to sit in my lounge room. Even 1:1 if it would fit.

I'd be happy with this arrangement, because I would get my decor, and the palientologists would get the original to discover stuff on.

Re:Collectors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45478445)

I'd do it in titanium or some other material and build the Dinobots.

Re:Collectors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45478991)

There are plenty of places online selling 1:4 size complete velociraptor skeletons replicas & 1:1 skull replicas. Generally around $200-300US. They're not that big.

Re:Collectors? (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 5 months ago | (#45478317)

I can imagine that fossilized bones are often broken or crushed, or locked in a substrate that makes removing them problematic. So, take a CT scan, remove the substrate digitally, then maniplate digital copies. Multiple palentoligists could have acces to the same samples and attempt differing configurations, without the logistics problems or dangers of sharing and manipulating the source material.
Further, while a rich collector may want the real thing, I bet many people would love to have a copy.

Re:Collectors? (3, Insightful)

enitime (964946) | about 5 months ago | (#45478359)

Because what private collectors interested in rare antiquities want is a plastic copy....

Fossils are very rarely complete. If a collector has two-thirds of a T-Rex skeleton, they would absolutely want the last third in plastic for display purposes. Even if it's bright red PVA to highlight what's real and what's not.

Re:Collectors? (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#45481029)

Collectors who are current collectors, sure, but that's a chicken and egg argument. It's hard to be a collector of cheap 3D printed dinosaur bones when there aren't currently cheap 3d printed dinosaur bones to collect. I would really like a life-sized T-rex skull, but don't have thousands of dollars to waste on the real thing. I'd prefer to spend less than $300 for a full scale model, let alone that much for a quarter scale model [neobits.com].

Re:Collectors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45481417)

Well, with this technology, once the bone has been scanned, mapped and sampled (tiny scratches?) it could be sold to a collector for funds to research the 'virtual' bone.

Re:Collectors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45481429)

Not entirely true. While collectors may not want *entirely* plastic skeletons, being able to quickly print bones might be a more economical way to replace missing bones when creating full-skeleton displays...virtually every skeleton you see in a museum contains at least some fake bones that were (painstakingly) made by hand.

Jurassic Park 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45478195)

Pretty sure they did this in Jurassic Park 3.

Jurassic Park 3 did that in 2001 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45478207)

Hardly news...

When is the Kickstarter T-Rex project ? (1)

RichMan (8097) | about 5 months ago | (#45478209)

Scaled from 3-D scans of real T-Rex bones. Own your own T-Rex skeleton -

1' high $20
3' high $100
12' high $500
life size assemble yourself $2000

Re:When is the Kickstarter T-Rex project ? (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 5 months ago | (#45478315)

Why not just download the CAD files and print it yourself at whatever scale you want that the printer can handle.

Re:When is the Kickstarter T-Rex project ? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 5 months ago | (#45482245)

Because my printer can only handle 20cm x 20cm x 20cm, what would be enough only for the teeth, and I have no interest in having a larger printer occupying space at home.

As a second tought, I also no interest in a skeleton replica occupying space at home either. The market size will depend on how much those two factors are correlated.

3d printed Trex bone liberator pistol (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 5 months ago | (#45478261)

Just for kicks I want a dino-bone shaped liberator, then wait for the scramble of politicians trying to pass new laws.

Re:3d printed Trex bone liberator pistol (1)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | about 5 months ago | (#45478813)

I'm not sure why they'd need a new law. (Not that that would stop them from trying to make one!)

From 26 USC 5845:

The term "any other weapon" means any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire. Such term shall not include a pistol or a revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.

Unless you chose a dinosaur bone over 26" long, the resulting weapon will be presumed to be concealable, and thus the first bolded section will apply. Since a dinosaur bone is not a pistol, you don't get exempted on the basis of the second. (It's not a pistol because it's not shaped like a normal pistol -- same reason most pen-guns are AOWs.) So, unless made with an eye to circumventing these, your dinoliberator will likely be legally classed as an "Any Other Weapon" under the NFA. Making an AOW is already illegal unless you file a Form 1 with $200, and wait for your paperwork to come back stamped before you start printing. Last I looked into it, the average wait was about 8 months.

Re:3d printed Trex bone liberator pistol (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 5 months ago | (#45478859)

ok, screw that for a joke, I'll just make one from a real dino bone. and claim the ability to fire a bullet as an unintended consequence of long term erosion. I'm pretty sure there are at least three laws covering shooting someone with a homemade weapon but as you state that wont stop them from trying to outlaw everything from another 3 different angles.

Re:3d printed Trex bone liberator pistol (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#45479677)

Just for kicks I want a dino-bone shaped liberator

Really now, calling it that is just taking feminism too far.

Oh, wait, it's a gun? Never mind.

Jurassic park? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45479013)

Wasn't this in one of the Jurassic park movies?

Eggs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45479247)

A real Gutenberg 3D Printer would produce DNA to grow live dinosaurs from eggs.

It's all about access and money... (2)

RamiKro (3019255) | about 5 months ago | (#45479277)

I think the utility this guys have in mind is to duplicate the bone after excavation and lease the original off to some bored rich guy. This way, you can keep the research going while he gets "exclusive guardianship". Then, if you ever need the original back - which is very rare considering just how many bones are just laying around in basements - you just need to call on some contract clause and possibly give the money back or just borrow it or whatever you agreed upon.

If I recall correctly Google and other parties were doing something similar with ancient manuscripts. Then I suppose the next logical step is archaeology...

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...