Fossilised feather, 3-D computer image

Fossilised feather, 3-D computer image

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

Credit: PAUL TAFFOREAU/ESRF/PASCAL GOETGHELUCK/ SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fossilised feather, coloured 3-D computed tomography (CT) image. This computer model is based on a feather found in a 100-million-year-old piece of amber (fossilised resin from prehistoric coniferous plants) from the Charente-Maritime region of France. The feather is composed of barbsthat only partially fuse to form the rachis. This compares to modern birds, which have a completely fused rachis. It may have originated from a primitive bird or a feathered dinosaur, and became trapped when the amber was a sticky fluid. The original sample was x-rayed in 2008 at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. The ESRF x-rays are fired at multiple angles to create virtual slices that can be reconstructed into a 3-D computer models.

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