Nature Blog Network

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Digimorphed Invertebrates

At The Open Source Paleontologist I noticed his recent posting Welcome, Longhorns. I have never been a big school spirit rah rah rah type, but having lived in Texas as a kid I have always loved UT and it was where I was going to go when I first got out of the Army. So naturally I followed the link to the class and found myself eventually at the site If you're not familiar with it (I wasn't) Digimorph is an NSF funded project at UT that is part of the digital libraries initiative. It has an amazing collection of digital morphology studies created using CT scans. They have over a terrabyte of data covering living and extinct species of interest to active research and eduction. Most of the focus for the project in the past was on vertebrate species, but they are adding more and more invertebrates now.
The data is available online as Quicktime movies and still images and a very cool java applet that lets you pick the slice you want to view.

They have 750 or so specimen available online right now, including a small number of inverts such as this Mespilia globulus which has movies and imagery available from all three imaging planes:

I really love this site as it combines so many of my past things together: 3D (including 3D printing and animation), visualization, computers and biology. Guess who just found a new timesink! Gotta get some invertebrates into the most popular.

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