Virtual Museum of Natural History 


Welcome to the temporary site of the Virtual Musuem of Natural History!

We are so excited to have collected almost 1200 high resolution Micro-CT datasets!
This site will ultimately serve as a sophisticated platfrom in which to share high resolution images among scientists

Please check out our youtube channel to see some of our first videos

Here is our abstract for the upcoming Society of Developmental Biology meeting:

  • Virtual Museum of Natural History

    Daniel DiCorpo1, Eric Edsinger2, Lydia Mathger2, Rudolf Oldenbourg2, Linda Amaral-Zettler2, Erik Zettler4, Thor-Seng Liew5, James C Weaver6, David Rich7, Steve Pieper8, Eliot Michaelson1, Charlotte Frank1, James S. Michaelson1, Christos Arvanitidis3

    1Pathology / Surgery Depts., Massachusetts General Hospital, United States ; 2Marine Biological Laboratory, United States ; 3Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Greece ; 4Sea Education Association, United States ; 5Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia ; 6Wyss Institute, Harvard University, United States ; 7MathWorks, United States ; 8Surgical Planning Lab, Brigham & Women's Hospital, United States

    The “Virtual Museum of Natural History”™(VMNH) is a new, multi-institutional project for sharing and viewing high resolution 3D data of objects of interest, especially biological organisms, for naturalists, developmental biologists, medical scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists, geologists, etc. Scientists can freely use the VMNH web site to upload, download, and discuss a wealth of 3D data. To motivate participation, users who prepare a publication using the VMNH will offer co-authorship to the original up-loaders. Viewing of 2D cross sections is available to anyone and videos of 3D renderings are available on our YouTube channel
    Volumetric data acquired from Micro Computed Tomography (Micro CT) devices (SkyScan1275 and Nikon-XTH225) has provided our initial 1200 datasets from about 900 specimens. The largest phylum represented is mollusks, for which we have 722 shell specimens of 198 species in 172 genera. Of special interest are 598 shell specimens in graded sizes (growth series) of 88 species in 75 genera. For example, 23 specimens of Nautilus pompilus range from 10 mm to 22 cm. Other specimens include animal eyes, marine eyes, de-identified human autopsy specimens, brittle worms, annelids, cephalopods, and various vertebrates. The Marine Biological Lab Marine Resources Center also provided 111 specimens including 32 animals, 31 invertebrates, and 2 seaweeds (S. fluitans  and S. natans). All organisms were first imaged unstained to reveal the radiographically dense anatomical features, and imaged again after staining with Iodine to reveal soft tissues. Plans are underway to add datasets from embryos at graded stages of development in chickens, zebrafish, mice, humans, and marine invertebrates. Those with a particular interest in the VMNH are encouraged to participate on a yearly basis as a “virtual curator” representing a particular group of datasets.
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