2018 AMI Online Salon

Resurrecting an Ancient Bite: Virtual Chewing Model Sheds Light on one of the Earliest Primates

Project Details

  • Artist(s):  Amanda Slade; Athens, Georgia
  • Client: Dr. Jonathan Perry
  • Copyright: © 2018 Amanda Slade
  • Medium / software used: Blender, Blend4web, Z Brush, Adobe Illustrator
  • Final presentation format: Interactive Web Application
  • Primary audience: Paleontologists, Graduate Students

Project Description

An interactive web application that dynamically presents novel anatomical data of one of the earliest primate species known, Smilodectes Gracilis.  This small lemur like species lived almost 50 million years before the first hominids and its study enhances our understanding of primate origins. To understand more about the species’ diet, body form and function and evolution, its chewing anatomy was studied using a novel technique, developed by Dr. Jonathan Perry, which uses fossil measurements to discover chewing muscle data. This project assisted the acquisition of this muscular data by virtually restoring a rare and damaged Smilodectes fossil and subsequently visualizing the resulting data by virtually reconstructing its chewing musculature and a simulating its chewing cycle.  The models and simulations are displayed in an interactive web application, bringing the static numerical data to life and dramatically increasing the accessibility of the virtual materials.