Australian dinosaurs encased in opals | National Geographic

The bones of a small dinosaur that lived about 100 million years ago were examined using micro-computed tomography (CT) scans in Flinders University Experts, reported Scimex news portal. Australian researchers are confident that the information obtained during the tests will prove that the animal that was alive belonged to a previously unknown species.

Agate is mostly known as a precious stone, but it is practically a siliceous mineral in which there is water around the silica arranged in microscopic spheres, and only a special form of it, the noble opal, shows the characteristics that fluoresce in many colors. The remains of many ancient living things can turn into opal, and many people have probably already heard about opal wood, and such objects can also be found in our country, but the real homeland of opal is Australia. Here, the layers containing noble agate were created from sandstone and mudstone from the Cretaceous period, and due to their progress, they may also contain dinosaur bones, so the most famous of them is the Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, or the Coober Pedy deposit in South Australia, the latter has given Eric Pleosaurus Remnants, her bones completely turned into opal. However, this is not the only sterile reptile. Professor Paul Willis, who freed Eric’s remains from the rocks, can now use modern tools to access samples containing bones from opal miners.

It is rare for a fossil to turn into noble opal, but in this case the remains of a plymenite (an ancient relative of the squid) met that fate. The fossil came from the Coober Pedy mines.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Without physically breaking the rock, they can look at it with the help of tomography, and based on the resulting images, they can produce a perfect version of the bone enclosed in the rock and turn it into opal by 3D printing.

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“We are using a CT scanner at Flinders University in Tonsley to examine the small pieces of rock that contain the bones of a small dinosaur,” the researcher said. The remains, which were the bones of a young grass, were received by researchers at Lightning Ridge opal miners in 2019 with the goal of the fossils surely serving Australian science. This time, opal means a stone of no value from the point of view of gem hunters, and not a noble opal, and this may also have been the luck of the connoisseurs.

Australian Opal Center Led by Willis Palaeo . pictures With the help of his staff, he documents the revelation of the secrets of the bones, after which, based on the remains, the animal is “resurrected” and presented to future generations. Based on CT scans so far, the bones appear to be in perfect condition, and experts have already begun 3D printing the most exciting pieces.

The examination will also greatly help in removing the stone around the bones. Paleontologists used to do this “blindly”, as no one knew what was hidden inside the stones, so there was always some risk of releasing the bones. However, with the examination, specialists obtain information similar to the surgeon undergoing a CT scan, so there is no longer any need to worry about irreparable damage to the fossil.

So far, only 20 percent of the stones that hide the remains have been surveyed, so if all the pieces end up being cut, it may be revealed if they’ve actually found a new species.

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