- Three-dimensional printing programs can shrink a blueprint for 100-foot-long skeletons to a more manageable size.
- Building a dinosaur based on the smaller model could allow scientists to better study how the animals stood, walked and mated.
Paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara is looking to print out some robot dinosaurs.
He wants to use a 3-D printer to create dinosaur bones, based on real fossils, to use in scaled-down robo-saurs. In the same way that document programs can shrink a page to 50 or 20 or 2 percent of its original size, a 3-D printing program can shrink a blueprint for 100-foot-long skeletons to a more manageable size for study.
The assembled dino-bots will help Lacovara, who is based at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa., study how 60- to 80-ton sauropods stood, walked and mated. "It's great," he said, "because I physically can't lift up [and piece together] the bones."
"It's this new frontier in paleontology," he told InnovationNewsDaily.
Lacovara will use lasers to scan original, fossilized bones. Then a 3-D printer will make copies of the bones' shape, based on the scans. The printer works by laying down thin layers of plastic, gradually building up the layers into a 3-D object.