Digital tools give students a better look inside animals

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An innovative class at the University of South Florida is tapping into a childhood obsession: dinosaurs.

The course is called digital dinosaurs is the brainchild of Dr. Ryan Carney.

"Although we use dinosaurs in the title, I don't really expect many of the students to become paleontologists themselves," he says.

But he does expect future scientists to learn the changing tools of the trade.

"This is really meant to enable the next generation of students, but also scientists to learn those valuable digital skills," says Carney.

Senior Mallory Register wants to be a zookeeper.

"Seeing an animal in 3D from a zoo that you can turn around and upside down and look at the different parts, I think that gets people excited about things and that can get people interested in future preservation and conservation," she says.

Junior Kierra Lentsch wants to work with wildlife mammals after graduation. She saw a lot of value in the digital dinosaurs course.

"I really wanted to see how technology integrates with biology and how you can bring them both together," says Lentsch.

Still, Carney says dinosaurs are a great avenue to show off the new technology.

"These new digital tools are providing us with new information and new insights into how they live what they look like," Carney said.

Insight like that is what hooked former student Alex Kirk. He is Carney's former student and is now his teacher's assistant, working towards a doctorate.

"I was very much in the mindset that I would get my bachelors and go find a job. Then I took this class and I was like, that's not what I'm going to do at all," Kirk recalls.