Research Communications

Dinosaurs in 3D: Science Café brings T. rex to life Sept. 25 

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 20, 2013)—Dinosaurs are fascinating animals that have important stories to tell, but the fossils we have are only part of the tale, according to Ohio University dinosaur expert Lawrence Witmer.

Witmer will "flesh-out" these ancient creatures at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25 during Ohio University's Science Café series. The event, held in the Baker University Center Front Room, will show how Professor Witmer's lab is using the latest in high-tech imaging to develop the Visible Interactive Dinosaur Project, a research initiative funded by the National Science Foundation.

"We'll be bringing life-size skull replicas of a whole bunch of dinosaurs, including T. rex, Allosaurus and Diplodocus, and scattering them around the Front Room so that folks get up-close and personal," said Witmer, a professor of anatomy and the Chang Professor of Paleontology at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Witmer and his team have created digital recreations of the soft tissue of dinosaurs. Image courtesy WitmerLab.

Witmer also will show how his lab has digitally restored dinosaur soft tissues—from the muscles to the nerves and even the eyeballs—to better understand how dinosaurs lived and behaved. From these digital images, the scientists have created animations that offer new insights into these extinct beasts.

"Our goal is to bring dinosaurs back to life for attendees … hopefully without anyone getting eaten!" Witmer said.

The event is free and open to the public. The first 50 attendees will receive a free coffee, tea or hot chocolate from the Front Room.

Science Cafés and the partner series, Café Conversations, are a venue for students interested in informally sharing their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty, staff and the community in a friendly setting.

The WitmerLab: (from left) Ashley Morhardt, Eric Snively, Lexie Spaw, Jason Bourke, Lawrence Witmer, Ryan Ridgely, Ruger Porter, Cheyenne Romick, Don Cerio. Photo courtesy of WitmerLab.

The presentation also will be available through a live stream, and viewers may pose questions for Witmer online:

For more information about this research:;;

Written by Kathryn McFadden.

Contacts: Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166,; Roxanne Malé-Brune, (740) 597-1227,