New trend for 2016: a 3D printed dinosaur? A small town in West Queenland, Australia plans to recreate a “terrible lizard” to boost tourism and travel.
Jurassic Park taught the world that we desperately want to visit a park full of life-sized dinosaurs…. but also that such an abomination should never exist.
But visitors to the rural town of Roma in West Queensland, Australia, will soon have the opportunity to get up and close to a dinosaur without fearing for the fate of the world. A $200,000 project for a massive 3D printed dinosaur will be a new tourist attraction. And, since it’ll be made from foam, there’s absolutely no danger of being bitten in half.
The remains of a Rhoetosaurus was discovered in the area way back in 1924. By 3D printing the creature itself, Roma is literally breathing new life into old bones. Another Queensland museum, Australian Age of Dinosaurs, has already had success with smaller 3D printed dinosaurs added to their own exhibits.
3D Printed Dinosaur: Meet the Rhoetosaurus
The replica of the Rhoetosaurus of Roma will measure some 15 meters long and about 4 meters high. The giant herbivore lived about 170 million years ago and used its long neck, much like a giraffe, to reach high up vegetation. It is the oldest dinosaur skeleton found in Australia.
Queensland Museum geosciences senior curator Dr Scott Hocknull is very excited about the project:
“We really are well and truly using new technology to bring these dinosaurs back to life. Short of having DNA, it is the closest you can get to having a real dinosaur.”
The process of building the dinosaur will require photographs of the skeleton to generate a 3D model. The model’s measurements would then be sent to a 3D printer, which would build the replica layer by layer. A CNC machine will also be used to cut larger parts from foam. The project is estimated to require two years for completion.
The project is a very big one for a town so small, but should also help increase tourist circulation through the area. Hocknull says:
“To increase the discoveries we have to increase knowledge on the ground, that is either land holders or tourists. Creating a mould of a dinosaur helps tell the story of Roma from hundreds of millions of years ago. It keeps it in the minds of anyone on the ground walking around in that area to keep an eye out for other fossils.”
Life-size dinosaur models offer a completely different experience for museum and park-goers. Even the best of imaginations can’t quite fathom what something that large looks like in real life. Hopefully the printing is a success, and a sign of more to come!
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