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Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History


Digital Dinosaur

Computer-generated image of Triceratops

Each color on this computer-generated image of our Triceratops skull and jaws indicates a separate pass of a 3-D surface scanner that captured the data to describe the bones. All the passes were knit together to produce this image. Incompletely colored areas were not picked up by the scan.

We used this technology to capture the shapes of all the bones in our skeleton in the computer, reverse or resize them to fix problems with the original skeleton, create prototype replacements, and analyze every bone. Thus our Triceratops has become the first digital dinosaur, and enabled closer study of this three horned-plant eating-dinosaur than ever before.

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Walk sequence of the virtual Triceratops
A walk cycle of the virtual Triceratops

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