by Bernard K. Means
At the end of this month, I’ll be flying to Hemet, California to participate in the Valley of the Mastodons conference/exhibit hosted by the Western Science Center. The Virtual Curation Laboratory has been quite busy working with the Western Science Center to 3D digitally document mastodon remains, as well as with other institutions including the Museum of the Middle Appalachians and the Virginia Museum of Natural History. I even have a Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) student, Isabel Griffin, pursuing a VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program summer research fellowship in archaeological and other scientific illustration. You can read about these efforts in this recent VCU News story and more about the Virtual Curation Laboratory in this second recent story, which also touches on our mastodon work.
I have been busy 3D printing mastodon bones and teeth, including some obtained from CT scans provided by Dr. Alton Dooley, Director of the Western Science Center. These CT scans have been edited and made printable by VCU forensic anthropologist Terrie Simmons-Ehrhardt. In addition to creating a complete model of a mastodon jaw from the CT scan, Ms. Simmons-Ehrhardt extracted the right teeth from the mandible of the mastodon affectionately known as Max.
I am not sure whether my suit case can hold all the 3D mastodon models I want to take with me to the Valley of the Mastodons conference/exhibit, but that will be a matter for a future post.