When most people hear the term "archaeology", they picture very traditional and labour-intensive practices where someone scouts around the field for items. However, archaeology has changed a lot since its original practices and has recently taken its next biggest step through 3D scanning.
3D scanning provides a huge advantage for archaeologists over it's previous procedures as nowadays, you won't even need a person to spend their entire day on the site to look around for rare antiques; reducing the potential for archaeologists accidentally stepping on and destroying items. However, 3D engineering not only benefits the efficiency on the site but also behind the scenes research.
Found in the Hubei Province in central China, the newly discovered and nearly complete fossilized remains of a tiny creature named Archicebus archilles has become the world's oldest primate fossil found to date; shedding more light into our evolutionary roots. The discovery will help help chart the evolution of primates, a family that includes humans, and strengthen the theory that primates originated in Asia.
"This is the oldest primate skeleton of this quality and completeness ever discovered and one of the most primitive primate fossils ever documents." said Dan Gebo, a member of the research team. "Although scientists have found primate teeth, jaws, occasionally skulls or a few limb bones from this time period, none of this evidence is as complete as this."
As seen in the image above, the creature has a set of unique characteristics different from the previous fossils discovered in the human evolution tree, making the fossil hard to interpret. Through years of patient work and using 3D scanning technology, the researchers were able to reconstruct the model into what they believe resembles what the creature looked like . Furthermore, the researchers were able to use advanced scanning technology to create 3D digital models of the creatures for later study.