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C. Putting Fossils Back Together

Narrator: This is Science Today. A researcher at the University of California, Berkeley has developed a computerized technique to undistort fossils which may be of great use to paleontologists. Ryosuke Motani used basic algebra to come up with a way to unscramble pictures of fossils that were distorted after millions of years embedded in slates.

Motani: Slates are the rocks that have gone through some kind of deformation. So the fossils themselves underwent deformation, too. So it was difficult for somebody to look at the skeleton and say..OK, this is this bone, this is that bone.

Narrator: Motani says his computerized technique isn't exactly new...

Motani: The principal itself had been around for awhile, but now that we have quick computers around it's much easier to do this kind of thing...putting back the shape of the fossil to what it was. And basically, you use a simple matrix algebra and just do the calculation based on the measurements from the specimen.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.