Sunday, October 2, 2022

CT scanner captures entire woolly mammoth tusk

For the first time ever, researchers successfully captured CT images of entire woolly mammoth tusks, according to a new “Images in Radiology” article published in the journal Radiology. radiology – The flagship journal of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Researchers were able to do a complete scan of the tooth — or Complete – Using a newer clinical CT scanner. The new technology allows large-scale imaging without having to perform multiple partial scans.

“Working with precious fossils is a challenge because it is important not to destroy or damage the specimen,” said the article’s senior author, Tilo Niemann, MD, chief of CT, and Cardiac and Thoracic Radiology in the Department of Radiology at the Kononspital Baden. Told. Baden, Switzerland. “Even though various imaging techniques exist to evaluate the internal structure, it was not possible to scan the entire tusk. Complete without the need for fragmentation or at least the many scans that then had to be painstakingly assembled.”

The extinct woolly mammoth (mammothus primigenius) was the size of a modern African elephant and lived throughout Eurasia and North America. Most woolly mammoths became extinct with the end of the last ice age, and the last specimens survived about 6,000 years ago. They belong to the order Proboscidea, which includes today’s elephants as well as other extinct mammoths, mastodons, and gomphotheres.

Mammoths were covered in fur and had small ears and a short tail to reduce frostbite. They also had teeth which they used to scrape the bark of trees, dig the ground for food and fight. Proboscis teeth have allowed researchers to determine age and the identity of specific life-changing events based on annual growth analysis.

Newer CT scanners have a large gantry, which is a ring or cylinder in which a patient, or in this case the tusk, is placed. Dr. Niemann said that the introduction of the larger gantry now provides an opportunity to scan large objects which was not possible earlier.

The tooth the researchers examined was found in central Switzerland and excavated by the Heritage and Archaeological Office of Canton Zug. The total length of the tooth is 206 centimeters (cm) – about 7 feet. Its basal (measures at the base) diameter is 16 cm – just over 6 inches. The total object diameter – taking into account its helical, or spiral, curvature – is 80 cm, or just over 2.5 feet.

Tusks mostly consist of two types of material: cementum, a bonelike substance, and dentin, which lies beneath the cementum and accounts for most of the mass of the tusk. Mammoth tusks are internally structured by an annual growth of dentin apposition that, when viewed in the longitudinal section (as opposed to cross-section), resemble cone-shaped cups stacked on top of each other. The first “cone” forms the tip of a giant tooth, while the cone at the base of the tooth is the most recent, arising just before the death of the animal. The middle cones are formed throughout the lifetime of the giant.

Using a large-gantry CT scanner, the researchers, in collaboration with the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich, were able to capture a clear image of the interior of the entire tusk.

“It was fascinating to see the internal structure of the mammoth tusk,” Dr. Neiman said.

The researchers found a total of 32 cones, resulting in a minimum age of 32 years at the time of death. Even though the mammoth tooth is well preserved, it does not have a tip, so the estimate obtained is slightly less than the actual age of the animal at the time of death.

“Our giant died at the age of 32, about 17,000 years ago,” said Dr. Niemann.

Nation World News Desk
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