Accuracy of Measurements Collected from 3D Digital Models of Fossils

COCHRAN-BJERKE, Madigan M; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, SD. PRICE, Maribeth; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, SD. KEENAN, Sarah; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, SD. JOHNSON, Roger; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, SD.


High-resolution 3D digital models of fossil specimens can now be easily made and can be used to visually inspect and describe fossils. However, it is not known whether morphometric measurements made from such models are comparable to measurements made from the physical specimens. Fossil and model measurements are to be compared to test the accuracy of measurements collected from 3D digital models and to investigate the effects of user experience. The digital models were previously created using close-range photogrammetry techniques. Three measurements were identified for each model, ranging from easy to difficult based on the clarity of identifying landmarks. Volunteers of varying experience levels in collecting morphometric measurements will be recruited to collect measurements from both the models and the specimens in order to investigate the influence of experience level. The volunteers will be divided into two groups with comparable numbers of experienced and inexperienced individuals. The first group will collect the measurements from the specimens first and the second group will collect measurements from the models first in order to investigate whether or not handling the physical specimen prior to using its corresponding digital model has an effect on the measurements collected from the digital model. Results from one preliminary measurement session indicated that the average difference between physical and model measurements increases based on measurement difficulty. A t-test showed that 17 of the 21 measurements were statistically indistinguishable and four are not, with all volunteers identifying as having no experience in collecting morphometric measurements. Future analyses will utilize a 2-way ANOVA test to compare the means of measurements collected from the physical fossils and their corresponding 3D digital model.