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Publication - Dr John Cunningham

    A virtual world of paleontology


    Cunningham, JA, Rahman, IA, Lautenschlager, S, Rayfield, EJ & Donoghue, PCJ, 2014, ‘A virtual world of paleontology’. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol 29., pp. 347-357


    Computer-aided visualization and analysis of fossils has revolutionized the study of extinct organisms. Novel techniques allow fossils to be characterized in three dimensions and in unprecedented detail. This has enabled paleontologists to gain important insights into their anatomy, development, and preservation. New protocols allow more objective reconstructions of fossil organisms, including soft tissues, from incomplete remains. The resulting digital reconstructions can be used in functional analyses, rigorously testing long-standing hypotheses regarding the paleobiology of extinct organisms. These approaches are transforming our understanding of long-studied fossil groups, and of the narratives of organismal and ecological evolution that have been built upon them.

    Full details in the University publications repository