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University Of Wyoming Museum Creates Online Skeleton Exhibits

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Museum of Vertebrates has created an online database of skulls and skeletons.

Matt Carling, faculty curator of the museum and associate professor in zoology and physiology, said the Coe Library assisted the museum in creating the free database.

"It's basically a 3D scan that then anyone with access to the internet can look at, they can rotate, they can zoom in and out," he said. "You can find out information about what animal it is, where it was collected, when it was collected."

Carling said the skulls are mostly mammals, with some birds. He said looking at the skulls can tell you about the animal's life. For example, what an animal eats will be reflected in its teeth. Carnivores will have sharp canines, while herbivores will have large molars.

Carling said the online scans will be useful for education, research, and fun.

"These types of databases and these types of digital collections, just like the sort of physical collections and the physical specimens, can inspire wonder and just generate all kinds of questions," he said.

Even before COVID, Carling said it was hard for a lot of Wyomingites to access the in-person museum. He said although the museum is closed now, the online version is available to everyone.

Have a question about this story? Please contact the reporter, Ashley Piccone, at apiccone@uwyo.edu.

Ashley is a PhD student in Astronomy and Physics at UW. She loves to communicate science and does so with WPM, on the Astrobites blog, and through outreach events. She was born in Colorado and got her BS in Engineering Physics at Colorado School of Mines. Ashley loves hiking and backpacking during Wyoming days and the clear starry skies at night!
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