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X-rays dig up dino-mite secrets as part of National Dinosaur Day

02 June 2023

In celebration of World Dinosaur Day (1 June), scientists harnessed the power of advanced X-ray technology to illuminate the mysteries of our ancient prehistoric world.

(Image: Shutterstock)
(Image: Shutterstock)

The Centre for Imaging, Metrology, and Additive Technologies (CiMAT) at the University of Warwick is at the forefront of this groundbreaking research. With state-of-the-art equipment, the team is exploring the intricate anatomy and biology of the Harbury Ichthyosaur a large marine reptile which inhabited Earth hundreds of millions of years ago.
Using high-resolution X-ray imaging techniques and 3D reconstruction, researchers can unravel the secrets held within these ancient remains, shedding light on the mysteries of dinosaur physiology and behaviour.

In collaboration with palaeontologists across the UK, Dr Paul Wilson of CiMAT, working with Dr Ali Wells, a curator at the Herbert Museum, are trying to understand more about this species by improving our understanding of this star specimen.

Working in collaboration with palaeontologists from across the UK, Dr Paul Wilson of CiMAT and Dr Ali Wells, a curator at the Herbert Museum, are spearheading efforts to enhance our understanding of this captivating specimen.

Paul Wilson, Research Fellow and X-ray CT Instrument Scientist at Warwick Manufacturing Group emphasises the importance of using X-ray computed tomography in studying dinosaurs. He says: "X-ray CT allows us to really dive into what lies beneath the surface of prized fossil specimens like this. 

“What would take a skilled museum specialist year of back-breaking work can be effortlessly unveiled and provide palaeontologists and evolutionary biologists the chance to further explore the evolutionary biology of marine reptiles.
“It’s just like opening a very ancient, heavy birthday present!"
 The University of Warwick's dedication to the exploration of dinosaurs extends beyond the realm of science. Through collaborations with local artists, researchers, and museums, the University aims to a vibrant and inclusive environment that nurtures creativity and curiosity. 

On-campus exhibitions, lectures, and workshops provide platforms for students and the wider community to engage with palaeontology and ignite their passion for the prehistoric world.

Through the pioneering research conducted at Warwick Manufacturing Group's Centre for Imaging, Metrology, and Additive Technologies, the university not only honours the past but also paves the way for the future. By unveiling the secrets of ancient life, they contribute to our knowledge and understanding, one scan at a time.
Meanwhile, the city of Coventry finds itself caught up in a prehistoric fever. Dippy the Diplodocus takes centre stage at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, which has become a hub of activity since the 70ft-long skeleton arrives as part of its UK tour. This exhibit has captivated visitors of all ages, attracting enthusiasts from far and wide.

Dippy, a herbivorous dinosaur that roamed the Earth over 150 million years ago, sparks renewed interest in these majestic creatures. It invites visitors to immerse themselves in the world of palaeontology and engage with the mysteries of our planet's distant past.

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