3D printing my second favourite dinosaur

I have an ongoing fear that I will forever be professionally typecast as ‘the orchid mantis guy’. Hence I am writing this completely unrelated post to demonstrate to others, and perhaps myself, that I am not a one trick pony. In fact I have several tricks, and am much taller than most ponies.

This post has nothing to do with insects, or research or even any extant* animals at all! It is about extinct animals and my somewhat misguided attempts to bring them back to life. After having so much fun with my scientific forays into 3D printing I was inspired to keep going and make 3D printable models for fun! First up is this splendiferous rendition of a Pachycephalosaurus.

Pachycephalosaurus

Pachycephalosaurus existed sometime around the Late Cretaceous Period and are famous for being my second favourite dinosaur of all time. Fossil Pachycephalosaurus have been uncovered from several sites across Northern America, including Wyoming, which, I assume, is where it gets its full name Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis. What makes this dinosaur so interesting and endearing is its thick dome shaped skull. It is believed that Pachycephalosaurus used their mighty cranium, forged from 25cm thick bone, in head-butting battles for supremacy. Fossils are commonly found with cranial lesions – signs of infection resulting from high-force trauma.

pachycephalosaurus

I thought that a perfect way to honour the mighty egg shaped head of Pachycephalosaurus was to fashion an egg-cup in their likeness. I could hardly think of a more fitting honorary gesture than placing the hard-boiled embryo of a dinosaurian ancestor atop their mock skulls, and then eating it.

Adult Pachycephalosaurus have the largest, most pronounced cranial bump#. Juvenile Pachycephalosaurus have a reduced cranium and larger horns protruding from the back of their heads. When designing the egg-cup I liked the look of the long juvenile horns but felt the adult head was more appropriate for the large egg shaped dome. In the end I ended up with design somewhere around the middle. A teenage Pachycephalosaurus if you will. One going through that awkward phase of growing bumps where there were no bumps before as they transition into their final ‘friar tuck’ morphology.

Pachycephalosaurus

The Pachycephalosaurus egg-cup of which I speak is available on Shapeways should you be looking for a gift for that special-palenontologically-inclined-someone.

What is my number one favourite dinosaur I hear you ask? That will have to wait for another blog post…

That reminds me, a few posts ago I said there would be a ‘Tales from the field: Part 2’. I should probably follow up on that promise and this week is probably the best chance I will have to do it. I am back in Malaysia again for a week and am adding to my list of field trip tales, I’ll get to work on preparing part 2 and put it up soon!

Until next time, adios!

* Extant = opposite of extinct. So you know, they’re alive, now.

# Cranial bump = a technical term that I just made up and I hope catches on.

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