The Friends of Petrified Forest has initiated a $25,000 campaign to purchase a 3D scanner for the research and educational use of Petrified Forest National Park. A board member of Friends of Petrified Forest has pledged up to $12,500 in matching funds for every dollar raised in support of this piece of equipment. The Friends of Petrified Forest plans to raise an additional $12,500 in matching funds and is asking the public to help.
You can make a donation to this matching grant campaign through Paypal or credit card by clicking the button below, or by sending a check to Friends of Petrified Forest—3D scanner campaign—at PO Box 2217, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona 86028-2217.
A 3D scanner will be an invaluable tool in support of the paleontological research now going on at the park. With the 3D scanner exact copies of fossils, including small, rare and fragile fossils, can be made for study while the originals are carefully protected.
In the last several years park paleontologists and affiliated researchers have made significant discoveries that have greatly added to our understanding of life in the Triassic period. These findings are globally significant.
For example, In November 2020, Ben Kligman a researcher with Virginia Tech, announced the discovery of a 220 million year old cyodont, a small early mammal relative, which has added to the understanding of mammalian evolution. And, this past December, Park Paleontologist Bill Parker announced the discovery of a new species of burrowing reptile, Skybalonyx skapter. These fossils are very small and the 3D scanner enables scientists to enlarge them for more detailed study and to make duplicate specimens available to researchers beyond the park.
3D scanners and printers can also be used to make fossil replicas for educational use. Combined with the park’s 3D printer, scientifically significant fossils and other natural history objects in the Park museum collection can be scanned and physical copies printed out for research, exhibits, and educational use. The long-term goal is to scan every fossil in the collection and upload digital files to a specimen database so that they are downloadable for the public and researchers.
The 3D scanner that Friends hope to acquire is an Artec Space Spider handheld scanner This tool is portable and can be used in the field or on research trips to other museums. It is amazingly accurate up to a half millimeter and can quickly scan small and large objects. Your support will make use of this tool at Petrified Forest National Park possible.
Header image by 3D Scan Expert – also an excellent detailed review of the product