Prehistoric ant, 3-D model

Prehistoric ant, 3-D model

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This image is part of the feature 21st Century Machine Shines Light Onto A Fossil World


Caption: Prehistoric ant, 3-D model. This enlarged model of a fossil ant was created on a 3-D inkjet printer. The ant was found in 100-million-year-old opaque amber (fossilised conifer plant resin) from the Charente-Maritime region in France. The amber was scanned using X-rays from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. This produces X-rays that are one thousand billion times brighter than hospital X-rays and can image the interior of opaque amber samples at high resolution. Multiple scans of the sample creates virtual 'slices' that can be reconstructed into 3-D computer models or printed into physical models. 3-D inkjet printers create models by glueing fine powder layer by layer.

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