MorphoScope’s Extensive Digital Library of 3D Natural History Models

By on March 13th, 2024 in models, news

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Downloadable 3D model of a skull [Source: MorphoSource]

Researchers have published an immense online library of natural history 3D models for download.

Researchers from multiple institutions sought to create a method to enable students and teachers to access digital specimens that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. The abstract of their paper explains:

“The impact of preserved museum specimens is transforming and increasing by three-dimensional (3D) imaging that creates high-fidelity online digital specimens. Through examples from the openVertebrate (oVert) Thematic Collections Network, we describe how we created a digitization community dedicated to the shared vision of making 3D data of specimens available and the impact of these data on a broad audience of scientists, students, teachers, artists, and more. High-fidelity digital 3D models allow people from multiple communities to simultaneously access and use scientific specimens. Based on our multiyear, multi-institution project, we identify significant technological and social hurdles that remain for fully realizing the potential impact of digital 3D specimens.”

They realized that the current accessibility of 3D scanning, combined with the ease of worldwide networking, implied that there was a way to distributed 3D models of the specimens.

So they built one. It’s called “MorphScope”, and contains 13,000 3D models, many of which can be immediately downloaded upon registration.

The data provided includes not only 3D models, but 2D images, videos and more. The data was collected via 3D scans, photogrammetry, CT, MRI and other methods. Both biological specimens and cultural artifacts are included in the collection.

There has been several attempts at this type of library in the past, but alas most of them have faded away. The new MorphoSource site seems quite comprehensive and should serve the community well into the future.

These 3D models are intended for scholarly work, but anyone can register and gain access. Who knows when you just might need to 3D print a mandible from Australopithecus Afarensis?

Via Oxford Academic and MorphoSource

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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