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the ARC Training Centre for Multiscale 3D Imaging, Modelling and Manufacturing

P6-1. Visualising the Diet of Ancient Marine Reptiles

Project leader: Tim Denham (SoAA-CASS, ANU)
Industry partner: Dr. Matthew McCurry, Australian Museum/UNSW
Objective:
  1. Clarifying the behaviour and ecology of different groups of ancient marine reptiles (including ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs and sauropterygians) using fossils stored at the Australian Museum.
  2. Using microCT scanning, visualization and analysis to understand feeding ecology.
  3. Provide insights on convergent evolutionary traits developed in different groups of marine reptiles in different geological periods.
Alignment within M3D Innovation:
  1. Development of 3D multiscale imaging and analysis workflow.
  2. Contribute to development of open access online platform.
  3. Create online digital databases of holotypes and other key fossils.
  4. Development of digitally competent Museum workforce.
Approach:
  1. MicroCT scanning, visualisation and analysis of coprolites, stomach contents and teeth, as well as mandibular elements.
  2. Virtual analysis of digital datasets to clarify convergence of evolutionary adaptation in different geological periods.
  3. Creation of on-line databases of virtual fossil assemblages for public interpretation (animations/3D prints) and specialist analysis.
Key Milestones:
  1. Renewing Museum fossil collections for 21st Century research directions.
  2. Creation of online databases/datasets of animations, 3D print files and microCT datasets (requiring open access platform).
  3. Determination of convergent evolution in distantly related taxa through time.