Studying Vertebrate Evolution with 3D Printing (GEO 208)
Director: Professor Anouk Verheyden-Gillikin, Geology
The Union College Maker Web assisted in the creation of a maker-related module for Professor Anouk Verheyden-Gillikin in the Geology Department for her Paleontology course (GEO 208). The course allows students the opportunity to study the evolution of vertebrates using 3D printed hands-on materials.
Skulls and skeletons of various vertebrate groups as well as various dinosaur groups would allow students to study the evolution of vertebrates using hands-on materials. In particular, replicas of skulls will allow students to become familiar with the location and types of fenestrae present in the skull and how they differ between diapsids (reptiles) and synapsids (what eventually gives rise to the mammals). In addition, 3D models of entire skeletons of dinosaurs would allow the study of the pelvic bones as well as the type of locomotion.
Despite the availability of wonderful digital images and the possibility for viewing scanned 3D material, the use of hands-on materials is still one of the most important and effective tools in teaching. The possibility to print 3D skull models and even entire skeletons would adds new teaching material at a reasonable price and exposes students to yet another application of 3D printing.