The imagery on this page was the basis for a paper entitled Anatomy of the cranial endocast of the bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus, based on HRXCT, by M. Colbert, R. Racicot and T. Rowe (Journal of Mammalian Evolution 12:195-207, 2005). The abstract is as follows:
Endocranial surfaces, volumes, and interconnectivities of extant and fossil odontocetes potentially offer information on the general architecture of the brain and on the structure of the specialized cetacean circulatory system. Although conventional methods for acquiring such data have generally involved invasive preparation of the specimen, particularly in the case of fossils, new tomographic technologies afford nondestructive access to these internal morphologies. In this study we used high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (HRXCT) to scan a skull of the extant Tursiops truncatus (Cetacea: Odontoceti). We processed the data to reveal the cranial endocast and details of internal skeletal architecture (data at www.digimorph.org). Major features that can be discerned include aspects of the specimen's hypertrophied retia mirabilia, the major canals and openings of the cranial cavity, and the relationship of the brain and endocranial circulatory structures to the surrounding skeleton (see Additional Imagery). CT data also provide information on the shape of the brain that may be lost in conventional anatomical preparations, and readily provide volumetric and linear measurements of the endocast and its individual segments. These results demonstrate the utility of HRXCT for interpreting the internal cranial anatomy of both extant and fossil cetaceans.
This file is a 3D surface model that has been created using the original scan data for this specimen. It can be downloaded and printed out using a 3D printer/rapid prototyper or it can be rendered in a 3D application. These files are typically very large, so we do not recommend trying to download them without a high-speed internet connection.
I love science (who does not?) and 3D printable animal skull (who does not?) 🐸