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The combination of digitizing and reproduction makes paleontological specimens accessible to a broader scientific audience on a worldwide scale. Research on specific paleontological material would no longer have to be carried out in the institution housing the specimen, but can be conducted at the researcher’s workplace. Although 3D technology for the reproduction of digital objects remains still a limiting element for the obtainable complexity, size, surface condition, and price of the physical models, with the fast improvement of scanning and reproduction devices, an ubiquitous digital object exchange will be even easier in near future than it is today.




We thank Hans-Jakob Siber (SMA) for the possibility to scan specimens under his care, as well as Jan-Thomas Möller, Martin Kistler, and Ben Pabst for assistance during the scanning process of SMA 0004. Ralph Chapman's and Art Anderson's careful reviews greatly improved an earlier version of this paper.

Emanuel Tschopp is supported by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia doctoral fellowship SFRH / BD / 66209 / 2009 (Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino superior, Portugal).



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