A virtual world of paleontology

J. A. Cunningham, I. A. Rahman, S. Lautenschlager, E. J. Rayfield, P. C. J. Donoghue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


Computer-aided visualization and analysis of fossils has revolutionized the study of extinct organisms. Novel techniques allow fossils to be characterized in three dimensions and in unprecedented detail. This has enabled paleontologists to gain important insights into their anatomy, development, and preservation. New protocols allow more objective reconstructions of fossil organisms, including soft tissues, from incomplete remains. The resulting digital reconstructions can be used in functional analyses, rigorously testing long-standing hypotheses regarding the paleobiology of extinct organisms. These approaches are transforming our understanding of long-studied fossil groups, and of the narratives of organismal and ecological evolution that have been built upon them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number6
Early online date10 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • paleontology
  • digital visualization
  • computed tomography
  • functional analysis
  • computer modeling


Dive into the research topics of 'A virtual world of paleontology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this