Online skeletal and dental datasets (links links links!)

The TM 1517a fossil, from here

Jean Jacques Hublin has a commentary [1] in the current issue of Nature, about making fossils available for scanning, digital replication, and ultimately hopefully open dissemination. As Hublin points out, it’s a bit ridiculous that a fossil is a rare enough thing as it is, but even after their discovery, fossils “can become unreachable relics once they are in storage.” Fortunately, Hublin goes on to point to online collections that are available to anyone interested. Somewhat ironically, the article about free-ish data is behind a paywall, so here are the resources Hublin describes:

  • The Ditsong CT Archive, created by the collaboration of Hublin’s group at Max Planck and the Ditsong (formerly Transvaal) Museum in South Africa, which contains digitized hominin fossils from the site of Kromdraai (see also [ref 2]). Check out the type specimen of Paranthropus robustus, from this site, above!
  • You can download CT scans of the Skhul V early human fossil, thanks to the Harvard Peabody Museum.
  • Wanna see the the oldest possible animal embryos, early humans, insects, and other crazy fossils? Check out the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility’s microCT database.
  • Get free CT scans of 2 human skulls, thanks to the Virtual Anthropology program at the University of Vienna.
  • Finally, the NESPOS initiative is a large repository of Pleistocene hominin fossil scans, which I somehow don’t know enough about.

In addition to these sources, here are 2 other datasets that are pretty badass:

ResearchBlogging.orgI haven’t had much opportunity to look into these datasets Hublin pointed out, but they look promising. If you know of other good resources, please do share!

References
[1] Hublin, J. (2013). Palaeontology: Free digital scans of human fossils Nature, 497 (7448), 183-183 DOI: 10.1038/497183a

[2] Skinner MM, Kivell TL, Potze S, & Hublin JJ (2013). Microtomographic archive of fossil hominin specimens from Kromdraai B, South Africa. Journal of human evolution, 64 (5), 434-47 PMID: 23541384

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One thought on “Online skeletal and dental datasets (links links links!)

  1. Pingback: Online primate anatomy lab exercise | Lawn Chair Anthropology

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