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The use of photogrammetric fossil models in palaeontology education

Authors
  • Cunningham, John A.1
  • 1 University of Bristol, Bristol, UK , Bristol (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Evolution: Education and Outreach
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Jan 13, 2021
Volume
14
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s12052-020-00140-w
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Photogrammetry allows overlapping photographs of fossils to be taken and converted into photo-realistic three-dimensional (3-D) digital models. These models offer potential advantages in teaching palaeontology: they are cheap to produce, can be easily shared and allow the study of rare and delicate specimens. Here I describe approaches for using photogrammetric models in the teaching and learning of palaeontology. Little is known about how students perceive these models and whether they find them valuable in their learning. To address this, first-year university students taught using both fossil specimens and digital models were surveyed about their experience through an anonymous online survey. Most students found that the digital models were easy to use, helped them understand anatomy and were more useful than studying photographs. However, most did not see the models as a substitute for studying real fossils and felt they could learn more from physical models. Digital models are a useful addition to palaeontological education that can supplement real fossils and allow palaeontological education to take place in circumstances where handling of specimens is not possible.

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