Augmented reality brings back extinct ice age animals

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When scientists working with the La Brea Tar Pits wanted to bring extinct mammoths, ground sloths, and dire wolves to virtual life for museum visitors, they quickly ran into a problem: Accurate models of such creatures didn’t exist in the network of virtual worlds known as the “metaverse.”

So they went ahead and made their own. The researchers gathered detailed scientific information about nearly two dozen animals—from photos of mounted skeletons and videos of behavior in related modern-day species—and hired a development firm that creates models for video games. An artist then made virtual 3D skeletons from a mesh of virtual triangles, added fur and skin, and animated them. The team modeled 22 plants and animals excavated from the Tar Pits, including mammoths (Mammuthus columbi), saber-toothed cats (Smilodon fatalis), and mastodons (Mammut americanum).

+INFO: Science

+IMATGES: Science

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