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TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation and the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre have been awarded with funding from the British Columbia | Canada 150: Celebrating B.C. Communities and their Contributions to Canada program, with the Accessible Vertebrate Ichnology Database (AVID) for 3D Digital Models of British Columbia’s Vertebrate Tracks and Trackways.

“Dinosaur palaeontology is a contrast of deep past and new technology. This is especially true for dinosaur tracks. Dinosaur tracks are not easy specimens with which to work. Many fossil track sites are dangerous and difficult to access. Dinosaur track specimens are often found on large blocks of rock weighing hundreds of kilograms. The Peace Region (and its wealth of fossil heritage) is not centrally located: large track specimens are impossible to ship to scientists who study dinosaur tracks, and it is logistically difficult for scientists to visit.”

Because of those challenges, the PRPRC uses 3D digital replicas to document dinosaur activity throughout the province.

“The ultimate goal of digitizing is three-fold: to create as close of a copy of an irreplaceable fossil specimen as possible, to lessen the negative impact of shipping and handling on fossil heritage, and to share our heritage with the world. Each 3D file is created using hundreds of high-resolution digital photographs. PRPRC scientists also work with palaeontologists from around the world in creating and researching 3D digital models of their dinosaur track specimens. Storing digital images of fossils is not much different than storing physical fossils: it requires a lot of space. The PRPRC has the specimens and a growing catalog of 3D models: all that was needed was the digital space. The BC | Canada 150: Celebrating B.C. Communities and their Contributions to Canada Fund makes this possible.”

AVID is a server which will store and help organize 3D models of dinosaurs. Scientists, students and educators will be able to view an online catalog of PRPRC dinosaur tracks and trackways.

Countries such as China, Germany, Spain and the United States have committed to providing providing images of dinosaur tracks from their country to the AVID Project.

Dr. Richard T. McCrea, Head Curator of the PRPRC says the AVID project ‘provides the important first step toward a solution for long-term, stable storage of 3D digital models.’

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