Oskaloosa mammoth bones

mammoth toe bone and printed model held by human hands

This week the Engineering Machine Shop scanned and printed a mammoth toe bone. For the past several months, the UI Museum of Natural History has helped excavate mammoth bones found near Oskaloosa, Iowa. (There are many articles about this find. Read the UI's Museum of Natural History's mammoth excavation news, including Holmes Semken's Mammoth Moments (Semken, UI professor emeritus in geoscience, is working on the dig.); Spectator; Iowa Now January 2013 and June 2012; the IIHR blog; and the Daily Iowan. In the past EMS scanned and printed sloth bones; see a report on the Tarkio Valley Sloth Project page. Visitors to the museum can handle those reproduced bones, something you would not want to happen with the original bones. Another advantage of the 3D printing process is being able to create a missing left bone where there is an extant right bone.

The mammoth bones have been dated at about 13300 BCE.

The 3D printed bone was deemed just fine by excavators David Brenzel and Semken, and they left 3 other bones to scan and print. Steve Struckman, EMS manager, printed the mammoth bone in the Fortus 3D printer, which has gotten a lot of use since its installation in October 2012.

See several of the mammoth bones brought to the EMS for scanning.

January 2013