intermediate step in creating the fully-rendered bones of Triceratops
in the computer. Data points were connected to form polygons,
which then were individually shaded to render a surface texture
for each bone.
Triceratops now exists accurately in the
computer as fully-rendered bones that can be sent to researchers
as easily as e-mail. Researchers can make highly accurate measurements
from the digital dinosaur, and do various analyses on shape and
function of the bones. We used the data from the entire skeleton
to analyze the posture and gait of Triceratops.
We had prototyped a one-sixth size Triceratops
(about the size of a Labrador Retriever), and assembled a team
of paleontologists who studied this tiny version to analyze how
the bones work together at the joints. This led to our mounting
and animating the most realistic posture and movements for Triceratops
ever seen by humans. Further work on other movements, such as
chewing, will tell us more about how Triceratops lived
over 65 million years ago.
What will I see when I visit the new
The new Triceratops will be unveiled on May
24, 2001. We will exhibit the new mount of Triceratops
in its new posture, facing off with Tyrannosaurus rex.
They lived at the exact same time and place, and probably encountered
each other. You'll be able to see the original skull, the left
and right humerus and the prototyped replacement left humerus
of Triceratops, and the miniature Triceratops mounted
in the original posture for comparison. We will also show skulls
of the other members of the Marginocephalia, including Diceratops
(two horns instead of three), Styracosaurus (a full skeletal
mount of a baby), Centrosaurus, Protoceratops, Bagaceratops,
Psittacosaurus, and four bone-headed dinosaurs, the pachycephalosaurs.
You'll be able to touch a cast horn of Triceratops and
a bronze skull of a 1/6th-scale Triceratops. A video will
detail the entire process of conserving, molding and casting,
laser scanning, prototyping, and researching the posture of Triceratops.
Learn more about the Triceratops by
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.
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.