I’ve had a wonderful few days working at the Berlin Natural History Museum. I was interested to see the original specimen of a lungfish (Chirodipterus wildungensis) that was the first to have the internal space for the brain described. This was achieved over 65 years ago using the “shatter method” (which is destructive as it sounds!)
I am also interested in a small coelacanth skull, called Euporosteus eifeliensis, from the Devonian of Germany (~383-388 million years ago). It is preserved in 3D and is only known from a single specimen!
To study both the fossil lungfish and coelacanth, I used the traditional method of making observations using a microscope, but also will 3D model them both using the museum in-house CT scanner and segmenting software back in Adelaide.
I’m so very grateful to Dr. Florian Witzmann, curator of fossil fish and amphibians, and Dr. Kristin Mahlow, who works in the CT lab, for their assistance this week. I’m looking forward to continuing our collaboration together.
Another perk of working in the museum was the opportunity to browse through their galleries, which include a beautiful Archaeopteryx specimen on display, as well as a visiting T-rex skeleton called Tristan. As one of the best preserved and most complete T-rex skeletons in the world, he was very impressive!