If you haven't been following on Twitter or Facebook, here's the big reveal that happened yesterday: my good friends in the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office (including Adam Metallo and Vincent Rossi) publicly released a unique 3D web viewer for manipulating and sharing 3D data of museum objects. The initial release includes 20 objects from across the Smithsonian's constellation of museums. Unsurprisingly, fossil marine mammals are well represented.
You can now go see, share and take tours of: the fossil dolphin that we excavated in Panama in 2011; three different fossil baleen whales from Cerro Ballena, as they uncovered in late 2011; and the type specimen of the walrus whale, Odobenocetops. One of NMNH's woolly mammoth's is featured too...elephants are, after all, close relatives of sea cows. Many of these models and tours will be elaborated and improved on -- so stay tuned, because it is all in BETA mode for the moment. (Also, be sure to enable webGL on your browser!). Let us know what you think.
For more on what this all means, check out some terrific media pieces, including an article in the Washington Post, a clip on NPR, among others. Fossil marine mammals continue to make appearances throughout, including, below -- a 3D print, destined for the BioMuseo in Panama, held in Secretary Clough's hands during his official 3D portrait in the Castle!
Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough holds a replica of USNM 546125. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)