Saskatchewan

Dino-croc built with 3-D printing tools at Royal Saskatchewan Museum

A research team at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina is reconstructing the skeleton and skull of a crocodile. It was discovered near Coronach, Sask., in 2001. The team is using 3-D printers to help create a complete skeleton.

Re-assembling a 60 million year old crocodile skeleton

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      A research team at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina is reconstructing the skeleton and skull of a crocodile. It was discovered near Coronach, Sask., in 2001. The team is using 3-D printers to help create a complete skeleton.

      They are working on a crocodile that is about two metres in length and is estimated to be 60 million years old.

      The skull of the crocodile was discovered on the side of a hill in the Big Muddy Bad Lands of southern Saskatchewan.

      Wes Long works is a curatorial assistant for the museum.

      "It's an exciting find," he said. "Usually we just find bits and pieces of crocodiles. Usually, maybe a vertebrae or something. But to find a skeleton is always exciting."

      Excavating the skeleton wasn't an easy job. 

      "It was a lot of work getting it out of the hill. It was up quite high on the face of a cliff. And we had to haul up the equipment with ropes and stuff like that," Long said.

      The following year the team went back and opened up the hill to get the rest of the skeleton. 

      Long is making a replica of the crocodile's body out of rubber molds. He will then recreate the skull using new 3-D printers. He says there's much more to find out about how this crocodile lived millions of years ago. 

      "You can look into it and find insects and you can test the amber to find out what kind of trees it came from. So, through that research you'll be able to be able to reconstruct the environment that this crocodile was living in," he explained.

      This specimen is almost complete and it has not yet been determined if it will be put on display at the museum.

      But there are plans for it to be used for education and research.

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