Michael J. Polcyn
The May 2011 issue of Earth Magazine reports on the research of SMU paleontologists in the SMU Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.
In a project led by SMU paleontologist Thomas L. Adams, the scientists used portable laser scanning technology to capture field data of a huge 110 million-year-old Texas dinosaur track and then create to scale an exact 3D facsimile.
They have shared their protocol and findings with the public — as well as their downloadable 145-megabyte model — in the online scientific journal Palaeontologia Electronica. The model duplicates an actual dinosaur footprint fossil that is slowly being destroyed by weathering because it’s on permanent outdoor display, says Adams.
The research of an international team co-led by SMU paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs is receiving worldwide coverage for discovery of the first fossil of a dinosaur from Angola.
A paper published in the “Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Science” described the long-necked, plant-eating sauropod based on a fossilized forelimb with unique skeletal characteristics that indicates it’s from a previously unknown dinosaur. Continue reading
3D digital download of giant Glen Rose dinosaur track is roadmap for saving at-risk natural history resources
SMU scientists created the digital facsimile using 3D laser technology and are making it available free to the public. The model preserves a footprint on permanent outdoor display that’s being destroyed by weathering, says SMU paleontologist Thomas L. Adams.
Journalist Louise Redvers in August interviewed Jacobs and Polcyn, both members of the Projecto PaleoAngola team.
The PaleoAngola researchers have described Angola as a “museum in the ground” for the abundance of fossils there.
National Geographic News interviewed SMU postdoctoral researcher Timothy S. Myers about the new species and genus of pterosaur he identified and named Aetodactylus Halli. Pterosaurs are a group of flying reptiles commonly referred to as pterodactyls.
In the April 28 article “Toothy Texas Pterosaur Found; Soared Over Dallas” reporter John Roach talked to Myers about the 95 million-year-old jaw that was discovered by Lake Worth resident Lance Hall. Continue reading
Texas discovery: Rare 95 million-year-old flying reptile Aetodactylus halli is new genus, species of pterosaur
A fossilized jaw discovered at a construction site in Mansfield has been identified and named Aetodactylus halli by SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers.
Rare in North America, the winged reptile was soaring 95 million years ago over what would one day become Dallas-Fort Worth. Continue reading
Dallas — and much of Texas — was once submerged by a sprawling, blue-water ecosystem called the Western Interior Seaway, which split North America in two from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, according to a new video documentary by the Discovery Channel.
“Prehistoric Dallas” includes commentary from two SMU paleontologists, Michael J. Polcyn and Louis L. Jacobs, both of whom have expertise in Texas’ ancient sea and the life that inhabited it from more than 90 million years ago until the extinction of the dinosaurs at 66 million years ago. Continue reading
Paluxysaurus jonesi weighed 20 tons, was 60 feet long and had a neck 26 feet long, according to the scientists who have prepared the world’s first full skeletal mount of the dinosaur.
Using portable 3D laser technology, scientists have preserved electronically a rare 110 million-year-old fossilized dinosaur footprint that was previously excavated and built into the wall of a bandstand at a Texas courthouse in the 1930s.
The laser image preserves what is called a “type specimen” footprint — an original track used many years ago to describe a new species of dinosaur, says paleontologist Thomas L. Adams at SMU.
Portable 3D laser scanners capture original fossil morphology and texture, making it possible to use the data for rapid 3D prototyping in foam or resin, Adams says.
“The track is scientifically very important,” says Adams. “But it’s also a historical and cultural icon for Texas.”