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Dissecting Spiders with VHR-CT April 21, 2008

Posted by tomography in HRCT.
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Dr. David Penney, from The School of Earth Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (SEAES) at The University of Manchester, and his colleagues have used very high resolution computer tomography for the first time to dissect tiny fossils without even touching them.

This specimen comes from a place called Paris Basin, and it is though to be around 53 million-years-old. It was found preserved in amber, so it has been intact, waiting for somebody to discover it all these years! It is amazing to see such fine detail considering that this spider is still in a drop of amber.

My colleagues in the department of Subatomic and Radiation Physics at Ghent University in Belgium have significantly increased the resolution of the technology, bringing some quite amazing results. This is definitely the way forward for the study of amber fossils. This technique essentially generates full 3D reconstructions of minute fossils and permits digital dissection of the specimen to reveal the preservation of internal organs.

– said Dr. Penney.

At the moment, dr. Penney is in the depths of the African Jungle studying more exotic species. Penny would not be a famous researcher without his own spider; he already has a slightly younger spider named after him: a 20 million year old species found by a colleague in Mexico was named Episinus penneyi in his honour.
Other readings about David Penney:

– Andras

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1. What is Very high Resolution Computer Tomography? « Indulge in the fascinating world of - April 21, 2008

[…] my latest post titled: “Dissecting Spiders with VHR-CT” I mentioned a technique called very high resolution computer tomography, and its use in the […]

2. Anna - April 28, 2008
3. tomography - April 29, 2008

Thank You, Anna!
Comments such as yours makes keep me posting.

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