Study reports the benefits of 3D models for science

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Many scientists agree that the best way to learn the anatomy of any species is to utilize donor bodies. However, thousands of junior high, high school and college students, and university researchers do not have access to specific animals. Now, new computer technology is making highly sophisticated biological systems available for viewing by students and researchers. In a new study, a scientist from the University of Missouri's School of Medicine found that 3D computer modeling can complement the study of biological systems for many species.

"We have been able to generate 3D models for the last several years, but very few people are embracing this technology," said Casey Holliday, assistant professor of anatomy at MU. "These computer models are completely and globally available because they are saved as PDF files, which are free to access and share."

Holliday said that biologists have struggled for years to describe or draw complex anatomy structures in two dimensions. However, with the advent of three-dimensional computer models, scientists now have a tool that can be used and shared with other scientific laboratories or with school children who might not have an opportunity to see specific animals up close.

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