Opalised fossils and dino hunting meets 3D printing

Dinosaurs – all kids love them. Some of those dino-loving kids grow up to become dino-hunting palaeontologists. The problem is, 66 million years after an asteroid wiped out three quarters of all life on Earth, the massive, iconic dinosaurs remain only as a few scattered fossils preserved in rock.

Associate Professor Paul Willis is a palaeontologist at Flinders University in Adelaide, and documentary film maker heading a company called Paleo Pictures which documents his team’s research.

Willis and his team have been working to preserve for science dinosaur bones fossilised in opal. And they’ve come up with some high-tech ways of doing so. We chat to Paul about how he navigates emphasising the scientific value of these gemstone-fossils, and how his documentaries feed back into his research as a dinosaur hunter.

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