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3D printing helps Royal Tyrrell take dinosaur research to next level –



Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum has found another innovative use for 3D printing technology: bringing fragile dinosaur specimens to life to advance knowledge and create compelling exhibits.

Amy Kowalchuk prepared a jaw bone replica for a new exhibit based on a fossil that is tens of millions of years old.

As a Royal Tyrrell Museum 3D technician, she says an abundance of caution is best when working with this material.

“Especially in paleontology, we’re dealing with priceless specimens that are very, very delicate and you really don’t want to be damaging them,” Kowalchuk told CBC News.

Amy Kowalchuk says the technology is helping museum staff learn without harming the delicate specimens. (Colin Hall/CBC)

These days Kowalchuk spends a lot of her time behind a camera lens, building a digital blueprint of the museum’s finds.

“You just have to take multiple photographs from multiple angles and then from that, you can triangulate them using computer programs, and then that gives you your 3D model,” she said.

This technology is helping the museum show off some of its more impressive finds, such as a tyrannosaur specimen known as the exploded skull.

It has 41 pieces and is extremely delicate. But thanks to some 3D printed elements, it’s now on display.

The technology is also adding a new dimension to curator François Therrien’s research on dinosaur brains.

The technology is also adding a new dimension to curator François Therrien’s research on dinosaur brains. He’s using reconstructed brain cavities to get a better understanding of dinosaur behaviour, including how they hunted. (Colin Hall/CBC)

He’s using reconstructed brain cavities to get a better understanding of dinosaur behaviour, including how they hunted.

“Before, trying to reconstruct the brain structure or the brain shape of these extinct animals required a lot of work,” Therrien explained.

“We needed to break the bones or have skulls that were already broken and then pour latex in there, try to peel it out and then a cast of the brain cavity. Now we can all do that with a CT scanner and 3D printing, so we can ask a lot of questions that previously would have been impossible to do.”

Royal Tyrrell isn’t alone. More and more museums are digitizing collections, which help dinosaurs come alive for both researchers and fans.

Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum has found another innovative use for 3D printing techology: bringing fragile, dinosaur specimens to life to advance knowledge and create compelling exhibits. (Colin Hall/CBC)

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B.C. researchers find evidence of ancient predatory sand worms that were two metres long – Saskatoon StarPhoenix



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The trace fossils showed feather-like structures around the upper parts of the burrows, which the researchers believe would have been caused by the worms dragging their struggling prey under the ocean floor to eat them.

The lower, horizontal part of the burrow. Photo by Yu-Yen Pan /Simon Frazer University

The study’s lead author, earth sciences student Yu-Yen Pan, said the giant burrows are much larger than other trace fossils of ocean worms found in the past.

“Compared to other trace fossils which are usually only a few tens of centimetres long, this one was huge; two-metres long and two to three centimetres in diameter,” she said in a press release. “The distinctive, feather-like structures around the upper burrow were also unique and no previously studied trace fossil has shown similar features.”

The researchers say that these worms likely would have fed similarly to the bobbit worm, often called the “sand striker.”

Bobbit worms wait in their burrow for unsuspecting prey, then explode upwards, grabbing the prey in their mouths and pulling them back down into the sediment.

Field excursion at Yehliu, Taiwan. Photo by Masakazu Nara /Simon Frazer University

The researchers also found evidence that led them to believe the worms secreted mucus after each feeding that rebuilt and reinforced their burrows, allowing them to lie in wait for their next victim without being seen.

Pan and an international team that studies the ancient sea floor has named the homes of these worms Pennichnus formosae.

According to the study, previous research on Eunicid polychaetes, the family that these ancient worms and bobbit worms belong to, was limited because they only stuck a small portion of their bodies out from the ocean floor.

These trace fossils have allowed researchers to better understand the activity and habits of the ancient species.

Predatory ocean worms have existed for over 400 million years, and while these ancient burrows are long when compared to others that had previously been studied, giant marine worms are not just creatures of the ancient past.

Bobbit worms can grow up to three metres long themselves, and lay in their burrows just beneath the ocean floor today.

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ESC Algonquin students auctioning of quilts for a worthy cause –



A group of grade 11 Algonquin high school students has started a unique fundraising auction that will take place online Friday through the ESC Algonquin’s Facebook page. 

Emilie Perron, and her classmates have helped created custom-made quilts that will be auctioned off to support five charities including Wounded Warriors, One Kids Place, The Nipissing Transition House, #NoahStrong and the Crisis Centre.  

“A lot of people, including our teachers, staff, and the whole school board are proud of us,” Emilie told BayToday.  

“Many people in the community feel the same way. We just hope we can reach more of the community and get more people to be aware of this project that we are doing.”  

As part of their grade 11 English course, this authentic and engaging project known as “Barons Quilts for Causes” was presented to students in September in order to raise their awareness of the importance of good citizenship.

The community-oriented project was designed to develop core skills such as collaboration, communication, and creative thinking as well as inspire kindness, hope, compassion, and service.

In addition, with the expertise, equipment and efforts of Mrs. Kelly Schroeder from The Cottage Quilter, students successfully fabricated five beautiful quilts for this fundraiser.

Perron says the students were even more engaged since the project gave the students a chance to express themselves through the quilts.  

“We could pick group members that reflect well with our personal beliefs,” said Perron.  

“Each group then picked a quilt pattern and chose an organization they all stood by. We have been working hard since the beginning of September to ensure a good quality project that will bring success. Our goal as a group is to be able to raise the most amount of money possible to maximize the impact of this project. In order for us to be successful in raising money for the organizations, we will need an ample amount of publicity.”

Dr. Emily Weiskopf-Ball, the project leader and English teacher at the school, has been impressed by the student’s enthusiasm for the project. 

“I congratulate the students for having such an open mind and being so willing to undertake such a great challenge as well as the other partners who accepted to work with us,” said Dr Weiskopf-Ball.

Bids must be made directly to ÉSC Algonquin’s Facebook page before 4 p.m. on Friday, January 22, 2021.

Here is the link to our website HERE or to the Algonquin Facebook page. 

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Tonight, Uranus will be on display for all to see – BGR – BGR



  • Uranus isn’t the easiest planet to spot in the night sky, and most of the time we can’t see it at all, but tonight it’ll be a bit easier to spot the distant, frosty world.
  • NASA says that Uranus will be near Mars in the night sky, and if you have something like a nice pair of binoculars or, better yet, a telescope, you should be able to see it.
  • The planet, which is a pale blue and white, will appear tiny at such a distance, but it’s actually nearly 15 times more massive than Earth.

When you gaze up at the night sky you see plenty of stars, but can you pick out planets when you see them? Sometimes it’s possible to spot the likes of Jupiter and Mars without a telescope, but more often than not, folks with “average” eyes can’t tell much of a difference. Tonight, however, you might be able to catch a glimpse of Uranus, and all you should need is a decent pair of binoculars.

Uranus huge, blue, and stinky. It’s also one of the most interesting planets in our system, and it’s not often that we have guideposts in the sky in order to see it. This time around, Uranus will appear close to Mars in the sky, making it a bit easier to spot, especially if you have the hardware to zoom in a little closer.

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Tonight, Uranus will appear between our own Moon and Mars in the sky. It’ll be tiny and very faint, but it’ll be there, shining a pale blue and just waiting for someone to come visit in search of life.

“The distant, outer planet Uranus is too faint for most of us to see with the unaided eye, and it can be tough to locate in the sky without a computer-guided telescope,” NASA explains in its weekly skywatching tips post. “But Uranus can be located now right between the Moon and Mars.”

Uranus is strange and special for a variety of reasons. It’s very cold, which isn’t particularly unusual, but the planet happens to rotate on a 90-degree angle compared to the rest of the planets in our system. The theory is that something huge slammed into Uranus a long time ago, causing it to shift and ultimately rotate at an angle that doesn’t match up with its own orbit around the Sun.

Additionally, the planet’s moons have been of interest to scientists for some time, mainly because they’re thought to be covered in ice that may hide liquid water beneath it. If that’s the case, those moons could harbor life in some form, but we wouldn’t know for sure until we actually went and checked it out.

In any case, Uranus will be in the sky tonight, and if you have a pair of binoculars or a telescope, you’ll have a great shot at seeing it. Assuming the weather cooperates, of course.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today,, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of
reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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