Visualizing the skull of 3DIM's oldest guest

Thursday 27 May 21


Sina Baier-Stegmaier
Research Engineer
DTU Physics


Carsten Gundlach
Senior Research Officer
DTU Physics
+45 22 38 42 41


Anders Bjorholm Dahl
Professor MSO, Head of Section
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 39 07

In March 2021, the 3D Imaging Centre at DTU assisted the Natural History Museum of Denmark with 3D scanning of a 66 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skull, which is now part of the dinosaur exhibition at the museum. The measurements are part of a digitization project, in which DTU Physics and DTU Compute are involved in. The aim of the project is to digitize natural heritage animals and insects, so that museum objects are accessible to all, and at the same time, digital copies are preserved.

The skull of the T rex, which is called Casper, was both scanned by X-ray micro Computed Tomography (CT) and by optical surface scanning. While the surface scan reveals the exterior and contains colour information, the CT scan also shows internal structures in addition to the exterior. Next to visualizing the hidden inner structures, it also highlights which parts of the skull are fossil and which parts are artificially made in order to show the skull’s full appearance. Due to its large dimensions, the skull was scanned in three parts: the upper jaw and both sides of the bottom jaw individually. One of the bottom jaws was 3D printed afterwards, such that the Natural History Museum could take it to a TV show on 21st April 2021.

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