Thursday, July 28, 2011

Parasaurolophus tubicens crest and airway

This is the original prototype of our Parasaurolophus tubicens crest and airway endocasts I built. Here is a compressed version of the sample animation I sent to our multimedia team.

Parasaurolophus has an elongate crest atop the skull that projects several feet behind the skull. Other "crested" duckbill dinosaurs have widely different shaped crests. The airway in many of these species goes from the nostril, through the elaborate crest structures and then enters the choanae and pharynx to go to the lungs. This structure has been interpreted a variety of ways over the years. Two possibilities include display (makes the animal bigger and possibly had colors or patterns) and sound generation. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History CT-scanned their Parasaurolophus tubicens specimen and generated a predicted sound that an elongate structure such as this may have produced. Someone posted this to Youtube a number of years ago. Sound

For our new exhibit hall, we got a license to use this sound file and I reconstructed the airway in detail in 3D. We synced the sound file up to the airway endocast you see in this animation on the touchscreen exhibit. Pressing the sound button causes the sound to play and also the airway to light up in sequence as the air passes through.