The fossilized remains of a whale that washed up on a shore in what's now Chile more than 5 million years ago.
Credit Vince Rossi / Smithsonian Institution
Adam Metallo, left, and Vince Rossi from the Smithsonian's Digitization Program use a high-resolution laser arm and medium-range laser scanners to document one of the most complete fossil whales at the site in Chile.
Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:16 am
Since construction workers discovered dozens of fossils along a highway in Chile in 2011, one question has preoccupied researchers:
What killed the whales, seals and other creatures that ended up there more than 5 million years ago?
Writing in Proceedings of The Royal Society B, scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and universities in the U.S. and Chile say the culprits were among the smallest possible killers: "Algal toxins."
For years, museum conservators and paleontologists have yearned for a way to duplicate fragile fossils without damaging them. Now scientists with the University of Oregon say they have found a way to do just that, with the help of a relatively inexpensive 3-D printer.
Illustration of the High Arctic camel on Ellesmere Island during the Pliocene warm period, aboutthree-and-a-half million years ago. The camels lived in a boreal-type forest. The habitat includeslarch trees and the depiction is based on records of plant fossils found at nearby fossil deposits.