Paleontologists Z. Jack Tseng and Camille Grohe of the used layers of foam and cotton padding to hold the heavy cranium upright in the plastic tub. Once the bucket is placed in the scanner, the CT machine takes several hours to scan the fossil. Scientists will use the series of X-ray image "slices" to build virtual 3D models of the cranium for feeding simulations.
Algorithms from bite force studies of living carnivores identify how skulls respond to feeding stresses. Applying these calculations to models of extinct animals' skulls tells researchers about the eating habits of ancient carnivores.
Find out more about Dr. Tseng's work modeling feeding simulations in living and extinct carnivores: http://www.amnh.org/explore/news-blogs/research-posts/building-better-skull-models-for-ancient-carnivores