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A new technique allowing virtual dissections of half-billion year old fossil embryos is producing the first three-dimensional images of the dawn of life[...]"these fossils are the most precious of all because they contain information about the evolutionary changes that have occurred in embryos over the past 500 million years," [...]synchroton-radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) leaves the tiny fossils untouched but gives graphic details of their structure.
The team used a 500-meter wide particle accelerator in Switzerland to deep scan the minute fossils and then fed the information into a computer which generated complete 3-D images of the internal structures in fine detail.
"The best analogy is with a medical CT scan ... but at 2-3,000 times the resolution," Donoghue said.
Originally posted by sardion2000
How can you miniturize such a huge machine to that extent though.... the resolution is mind boggling, I agree, and I also wonder if a larger particle accelerator will be able to achieve higher resolutions, but I also don't see how you can make such a device standard in Universities let alone Hospitols.
posted by Nygdan
A new technique allowing virtual dissections of half-billion year old fossil embryos is producing the first 3 dimensional images of the dawn of life . . The best analogy is with a medical CT scan but at 3,000 times the resolution . . The development and origins of embryos is a fascinating field of study. Consider the tunicates . . their larvae look completely different, they have structures that look like prototypes of backbones, and they are free-swimming . . these fossils contain information about the evolutionary changes that have occurred in embryos over the past 500 million years . . There are very few larval forms of the most primitive forms of multi-celled life, and they, understandably, must be incredibly difficult to study . . this field of study is called "Evo-Devo" or 'evolutionary development' . . this lab technique and technology will pay off tremendously in understanding the organization of the structure of life itself, or at least of complex metazoan life, and may hinge upon the forms and development of embryos . . “ [Edited by Don W]