TOMOGRAPHY

Over the past years, Computed Tomography (CT) technology has been used to unravel important paleontological problems, allowing us to explore the interior of a fossil in a non-destructive way. As part of this, our group works in close collaboration with Phil Donoghue (University of Bristol) using Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Tomographic Microscopy (SRXTM). This can provide a complete characterisation of different exoskeleton remains at submicrometric resolution. We apply this technique to analyse the histology and development of the earliest skeletonised animals, focusing on the scales, teeth and spines that compose their skeletons. Furthermore, based on the tomographic information, we also create virtual and physical 3D models that are the basis for a series of computed biomechanics analyses with the aim of understanding the functional significance of the complexity and disparity of the early vertebrate skeleton.

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