Do you remember the film Jurassic Park 2 when Billy Brennan makes a replica of a Velociraptor’s larynx and showed it to Dr Grant? Well the larynx was made using 3D printing technology. The same technology which was fiction in the movie has become a reality. 3D printing is being used to recreate the parts of fossils without being handled, when the risk of accidental destruction is always there. Most Paleontology research institution has to queue for long periods before they are able to get their hands on the fossils for study. 3D printing will enable them to make exact replicas so that they are able to do their research without bothering for the real fossils.
In earlier times most of the replicas which one saw in the museum was plaster casts of the fossils. However manufacture of the plaster cast itself was a very tricky process and there is always a risk of the fossils getting damaged during the process of making the cast. However today it is much simpler due to the invention of the 3D printing process. All you have to do is to take a 3D picture of the fossil using a MRI scan or some other diagnostic tool. This is then fed into a computer and the 3D printer will create an accurate and robust replica of the fossil. The 3D printers of present times use a variety of materials including calcium carbonate. So you can have a dinosaur bone much akin to the composition of the original bone.
In the coming times we will be able to see a lot of fossils being replaced I museums using the 3D technology. With the easy availability of 3D scanners it is even possible to create the exact replica of the fossil, even if it is buried many feet below the soil. One of the biggest problems with fossils is that they are easily destroyed by the vagaries of the nature, if they are exposed to air or water. 3D technology will allow the fossils to be scanned and the exact replica created so that the fossil is immediately covered up and protected from the atmospheric degradation.
3D technology is finding new and varied uses in many fields especially in the medical and healthcare field. Often medical institutions are hampered by the shortage of bodies where the doctors could learn the intricacies of human body, its organs and also fine tune their surgical skills. 3D technology can come to their rescue and can make the exact replica of the human body where the future doctors can fine tune their skills.