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News Picks : Archaeopteryx fossils reexamined using high-tech camera obscura

By: Physics Today
23 May 2014
BBC: A new x-ray technique has revealed for the first time the complete skeleton of Archaeopteryx. Only 12 fossils have ever been found, and what is known about the species was derived from its outlines on the surfaces of large rock slabs. Now researchers have found a way to use the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility to scan the fossils, which are too big and bulky for conventional scanning techniques. Inspired by the pinhole camera, the researchers shine an extremely narrow but powerful x-ray beam through the sample, which diffuses the light. That light is then directed through a very small hole in a piece of lead, which projects and magnifies the images onto a screen. The images are then combined to form a three-dimensional animation. Being able to look below the surface has allowed the researchers to study in very fine detail the feathers and other aspects of the dinosaur’s anatomy.


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