London: Using modern computer technology, scientists have restored part of a fossil of a rare dinosaur that lived more than 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period in what is now Mongolia.
The focus of the study was the skull of Erlikosaurus andrewsi, a 10-13 foot herbivorous dinosaur called Therizinosaur.
Using a digital model of the fossil, the team virtually disassembled the skull of Erlikosaurus into its individual elements.
They then digitally filled in any breaks and cracks in the bones, duplicated missing elements and removed deformation by applying retro-deformation techniques, digitally reversing the steps of deformation.
In the final step, the reconstructed elements were re-assembled.
This approach not only allowed the restoration of the complete skull of Erlikosaurus but also the study of its individual elements.
"With modern computer technology such as CT scanning and digital visualisation, we now have powerful tools at our disposal with which we can get a step closer to restore fossil animals to their life-like condition," said lead author, Stephan Lautenschlager from the University of Bristol in Britain.
The process was described in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.