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CT Case Studies


Heritage Projects

Megalosaurus

The first scientifically described dinosaur, Megalosaurus bucklandii, is a key historical specimen in Palaeontology, being the very first glimpse into one of the most iconic evolutionary lineages in prehistoric animals and an extremely historically important specimen to the history of discipline. After nearly 200 years since it was first discovered by William Buckland, this specimen has been imaged for the first time using the Micro-CT facilities at WMG, the University of Warwick. The scan has revealed much of the conservation treatment that the specimen has undergone over this time, helping the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) identify the treatment history of this iconic specimen.

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Phascolotherium

Another iconic palaeontological specimen, Phascolotherium bucklandii is the lower jawbone of the first discovered Mesozoic Mammals, some of the earliest direct ancestors of the mammal lineage. Discovered by the same William Buckland, the specimen is kept at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) and is rarely put on display due to it's relative importance and fragility. The specimen has been scanned for the first time using the Micro-CT facilities at WMG, the University of Warwick, in order to both create a digital record and the specimen but also for use within outreach, exhibition and key research into the use of 3D printing to enhance user experience.

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Forensic Investigations

Operation Sanderling

 

WMG were contacted by West Midlands Police seeking assistance with a charred piece of evidence thought to contain human bone. The item was found in the backyard of a suspect who was thought to have killed and dismembered their former housemate and disposed of the body in two suitcases in a canal. A micro-CT scan of the charred piece revealed a human shoulder joint and could be virtually segmented and matched to the remaining elements from the suitcases. The level of detail also enabled investigators to precisely plan DNA extraction from an area within the sample not damaged by heat, ultimately linking the suspect to the crime.

All this information was then transformed into an interactive court display assisting the jury in understanding complex medical evidence. The defendant was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

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Operation Rococo

 

West Midlands Police requested assistance with a suspicious infant death. Both femurs, the pelvis, and the entire rib cage were micro-CT scanned which revealed multiple injuries at different stages of healing without any sign of medical attention which demonstrated a history of neglect and abuse. The 3D visualisation of the trauma assisted further experts in planning their procedures and the scans were used to illustrate the pathology expert’s testimony in court in a more abstract but accessible manner to reduce the emotive impact. The child’s legal guardian was found guilty of murder and sentenced for life.

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