Fossil insect research

Fossil insect research

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


Caption: Fossil insect research. Paleontologists Paul Tafforeau and Malvina Lak studying fossil insect models at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. The models are based on insects found in 100-million-year- old opaque amber (fossilised conifer plant resin) and X-rayed at ESRF. The X-rays here are one thousand billion times brighter than hospital X-rays and are able to 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 (as shown on the computer monitor) or printed into physical models using 3-D inkjet printers (as held by the researchers).

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