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America’s Founding Monsters

by Bernard K. Means

2018-07-31 11.30.42

Following up on my last post, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised to learn about an editorial in the August 15, 2018 Richmond Times-Dispatch that mentioned by work with the Virginia Living Museum to 3D scan a mastodon found near Yorktown, Virginia. The author(s) of the editorial linked this 3D scanning effort with the writings and passions of Thomas Jefferson, the Sage of Monticello. You can read the editorial here:


Personally I liked the opening sentence:

As a VCU archaeologist scans bone fragments of a mastodon that died 16,000 years ago in what we know as York County, Thomas Jefferson — somewhere in that cerebral afterlife reserved for deists — must be smiling.

I am still editing the 3D scans of this mastodon’s skeleton, and, in the upcoming semester, VCU interns working in the Virtual Curation Laboratory will begin printing these bones, and painting them to resemble the real specimen, which is too fragile to handle. In the meantime, you can see bones from this mastodon here: https://sketchfab.com/virtualcurationlab/collections/yorktown-mastodon