IRA FLATOW, host:
Joining us now is Flora Lichtman, our digital producer, with the digital Pick of the Week. Flora, I know you have a good one this week for us, as always.
FLORA LICHTMAN: Thanks, Ira. This week - yeah, it's a fun one. It's fossils, bones, skeletons.
LICHTMAN: Dinosaurs. It's hard to beat.
(Soundbite of laughter)
LICHTMAN: It's a project called DigiMorph, which is run out of the University of Texas at Austin. And what they do is basically take specimens - all kinds of stuff.
FLATOW: Like a fossil.
LICHTMAN: A fossil or a pickled snake or any kind of thing - mostly biological - and they send it through sort of this industrial-strength CAT scanner, which takes X-rays from all directions. And then, with some sophisticated computing, they can put together these really cool-looking 3-D models of skeletons and of the specimens.
FLATOW: And so, they make these slices - they put 3-D models, and then they - so you can rotate them and see them in all different angles. And you've done that. You've put together how many different...
LICHTMAN: I mean, we - I tried to squeeze in as many (Laughing) different movies as I could into this one little video. But you know, they range - everything from a flower to a hooded - to a veiled chameleon. And their most recent addition is pretty neat. It's the famous hominid fossil, Lucy.
LICHTMAN: Lucy has gone 3-D and digital.
FLATOW: Wow. Wow. That headline is in. We've got Lucy, 3-D and digital. If you want to see Flora's digitized, wonderful video, it's at sciencefriday.com. It's the Sci-Fri Pick of the Week. It's that little window on the upper left. You can actually expand it and make it bigger. And they can also - as part of this, they can actually can fill in the brain case, right? A hollow and show what it look like and...
LICHTMAN: Right. I mean, that was one of the neatest thing. So, Tim Rowe, who's the director of DigiMorph, says that, you know, mostly, he studied fossils and fossils of dinosaurs, and he always - he kept asking museum curators - you know, I want to know what's inside that brain case. I need to break open the skull. And the curators were like, forget it.
(Soundbite of laughter)
LICHTMAN: It's not going to…
FLATOW: Not my skull you're breaking open.
LICHTMAN: That is not going to happen.
FLATOW: So, they could do it digitally.
LICHTMAN: So this way, they scan it, they see the inside, and they can fill it in and...
FLATOW: All right.
LICHTMAN: Know what the brain is.
FLATOW: Flora's Science Friday Pick of the Week at sciencefriday.com, our video. Thanks.
FLATOW: We look forward to you next week, too.
(Soundbite of credits)
FLATOW: Surf over to our Web site. We are podcasting and blogging and still Twitter. Our Twitter is @scifri, and if you go to Second Life, there's a whole bunch of people hanging out there today. And you can get a T-shirt and join our Second Life community and become a member of our Twitter. I'm Ira Flatow in New York.
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