Fort Hays Fossil Collection Gets 3-D Scanning

This undated handout image provided by National Geographic and Nature shows a computer enhanced image of a lower jaw, shown as a photographic reconstruction, and the cranium, based on a computed tomography scan of of he KNM-ER 1470 cranium, discovered in 1972, combined with the new lower jaw KNM-ER 60000. A famous family of paleontologists says newly found fossils confirm their controversial theory that the human family tree may have sprouted some long-lost branches going back nearly 2 million years. Meave Leakey led a team of researchers in Kenya that claim what they dug up shows there once were two additional pre-human species besides the one that eventually led to modern humans. One of the researchers said these wouldn't be our direct ancestors, which are called Homo erectus, but more like very distant cousins. The study appears online Wednesday in the journal Nature. (AP Photo/Fred Spoor/National Geographic, Nature)
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HAYS, Kan. (AP) _ Parts of the fossil collection at the Sternberg Museum in Hays are coming alive on computer screens.

The museum and the Forsyth Laboratory at Fort Hays State are collaborating on a project to digitize the fossil collection using 3-D scanning.

Sternberg director Reese Barrick says the fossils are photographed and then some will be scanned to produce a 3-D image.

The Hays Daily News reports ( ) the 3-D images can be moved around on the computer, allowing someone to look at one image rather than several different photos.

Supporters hope the 3-D images will be used in classrooms. And they say it will allow the museum to show the public more of its collection, which could attract more visitors.

Information from: The Hays (Kan.) Daily News,