Lying in South Dakota for nearly 66 million years is Ava, a newly discovered dinosaur skeleton belonging to the ceratopsian family of dinosaurs, the most famous of which, is the Triceratops. What makes Ava unique is that she is the first of her kind. She is smaller than other certopsian dinosaurs, and existed in a later period of time. Ava was discovered by Triebold Paleontology Incorporated, appropriately based in the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center. Triebold is a company that specializes in the restoration of vertebrate fossils and the creation of museum quality exhibits.
3D printing has helped to inspire innovation within Triebold, allowing for the team to accurately scan, and replicate bones from one side of the dinosaur to another, ensuring that everything is as accurate as possible for the final restoration of the piece. Nearly 80% of Ava was recovered and according to the Triebold team “Practically every missing portion was represented by its match from the other side, enabling precise restoration through digital mirror-imaging of 3D models and 3D printing the mirrored models…” This is only the most recent instance in which 3D technology h as been used to help support paleontological data, and to remind us all of the great creatures that roamed the land long before we did.