Digital Dinosaurs

From dinosaurs to birds


USF Integrative Biology Professor Ryan Carney is leading projects to digitize exceptional dinosaur fossils for research and educational purposes. This includes the 3D Archaeopteryx Project, which harnesses X-ray imaging, photogrammetry, and computer animation to reconstruct the best-preserved specimens of the icon of evolution, Archaeopteryx (ar-kee-OP-ter-icks). This so-called “missing link” between dinosaurs and birds holds the key to solving the mystery of how flight evolved. But could Archaeopteryx actually fly? And is it truly the first known bird?

Funding provided by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society/Waitt Foundation.

Engineering team with Archaeopteryx and custom X-ray microtomosynthesis instrument
Deinonychus forelimb model in the Maya animation environment


Forelimb predatory strike of Deinonychus (the “velociraptor” from Jurassic Park), 3D laser scanning and Maya computer animation. Credit: Ryan Carney

Featured projects

See all projects

La Mancha


CVAST documented a wide variaty of heritage sites in the region of La Mancha, Spain

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle

Paris, France

Zoology and palaeontology at the Natural History Museum in Paris

Digital Dinosaurs


3D imaging and computer animation are harnessed to bring fossil dinosaurs “back to life”