CT scanning a caudal vertebra of Diplodocus

August 16, 2018

John Yasmer, DO (right) and me getting ready to scan MWC 8239, a caudal vertebra of Diplodocus on loan from Dinosaur Journey, at Hemet Valley Imaging yesterday.

Alignment lasers – it’s always fun watching them flow over the bone as a specimen slides through the tube (for alignment purposes, obviously, not scanning – nobody’s in the room for that).

Lateral scout. I wonder, who will be the first to correctly identify the genus and species of the two stinkin’ mammals trailing the Diplo caudal?

A model we generated at the imaging center. This is just a cell phone photo of a single window on a big monitor. The actual model is much better, but I am in a brief temporal lacuna where I can’t screenshot it.

What am I doing with this thing? All will be revealed soon.

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11 Responses to “CT scanning a caudal vertebra of Diplodocus

  1. Mike Taylor Says:

    Hmm. Some kinda dog, some kinda rabbit?

  2. Matt Wedel Says:

    I said “genus and species” to forestall this kind of laziness, but I guess I will accept “some kinda dog” for Canis familiaris.

    I can tell that the lack of a scale bar has thrown off your sense of scale. The second skull is about twice the max length of that of the world’s largest wild rabbit. I am confident that the answer lies among our readership.

  3. Allen Hazen Says:

    Umm. I ‘m finding the second mammal skull hard to interpret from the X-ray image. But there are parts of the geometry that look a bit peccaryish to me.

  4. Matt Wedel Says:

    Ding ding ding! The second skull is indeed that of Pecari tajacu, the collared peccary. I picked it up at a taxidermy shop in west Texas while waiting for a bus to El Paso, on my way home from Big Bend at the end of the 2007 field season. It’s been mounted on a plaque in my living room for a decade. I should do a whole post on it.

  5. Mike Taylor Says:

    After you recalibrated my conception of its size, I was thinking pig. I want half a point.

  6. Matt Wedel Says:

    Done. Don’t spend it all in one place.


  7. […] a screenshot from Amira of Diplodocus caudal MWC 8239 (the one you saw being CT scanned last post) about to be digitally hemisected. Trust me, you’ll want to click through for the big […]


  8. I’m delighted by seeing anything of Diplodocus at present (even more so than usual!)
    I’m particularly yearning to find a full public- access free digitised model of the famous D. carnegii skeleton (and one of Apatosaurus louisae, too, would be nice!)
    for a potential project to benefit Carnegie’s birthplace and my home town for 50 years, Dunfermline..

    Even data less than the whole shebang – of just their skull(s) and/or representative vertebrae and/or limb-bones, any of those – will be of interest to me.
    :D

  9. Mike Taylor Says:

    I know that a digital model of the NHMUK’s Carnegie Diplodocus cast was in the works at one point. I don’t know if it actually got done, or what the status of the model is if it did. I’ll ping Paul Barrett and see if he has any light to shed.

  10. Paul Barrett Says:

    We don’t currently have a full surface scan of our Diplodocus replica sadly, only of the skull. It’s somethiing we do have planned in the future, but its not clear when this will happen (ideally we’d have done this prior to its deinstallation from our main hall, but time and budget constraints prevented this unfortunately)


  11. […] later: everything I’ve written on this blog about neural canals, Haplocanthosaurus, or CT scanning in 2018 is something serendipitously spun out of the SMA survey with Jessie. Expect a lot more […]


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