In a clash between the cutting-edge and the ancient, Australian academics are using drones to track the footprints of dinosaurs in Western Australia.
The University of Queensland team, led by palaeontologist, Steve Salisbury, is on the trail dinosaurs left in stone along the West Kimberley coast millions of years ago.
According to the ABC, footage captured by the drone will be processed through software that will give researchers a 3D visual of the path trod by sauropods, and potentially, theropods. The scientists need this eagle-eyed view because the footsteps are often hidden by jagged rock.
Salisbury told the ABC the drone was a useful addition to his work. “The drone allows us to get as close as we need to and customise the imagery we want, which is proving to be really, really interesting,” he said.
“That’s really helping bring the coastline to life, and bring the track sites to life, because they’re a record of what the dinosaurs were doing 130 million years ago.”
Salisbury and Anthony Romilio, a member of his research group, have being sharing some of the 3D imagery on social media.
Paleontologists and archaeologists around the world have begun to use drones to uncover ancient animals and civilisations. In Canada, researchers are flying them in an effort to digitally map dinosaur bone beds in northeast Calgary, and in the Amazon, drones equipped with LiDAR equipment are spotting previously undiscovered ancient human settlements.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com