Queensland scientists and computer game experts have teamed up to bring Australia’s largest meat-eating dinosaur to life in what is believed to be the world’s most scientifically accurate collection of animations.
The project has breathed digital life into the Australovenator, along with four other Australian dinosaurs.
Palaeontologist Dr Scott Hocknull and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) content development manager Sean Druitt used clues from dinosaur fossils and hints from their modern day cousins to recreate the creatures.
“Because dinosaurs are wedged between crocodiles and birds on the evolutionary tree, we can use modern day crocodiles and modern day birds as our palate to choose from,” Dr Hocknull said.
“When we look at the animals and look at the fossils, we can actually use all of this information to reconstruct them as accurately as you possibly could without a time machine.”
Every movement and characteristic of the dinosaurs has been repeatedly refined with programs normally used for video games.
The creatures have even been programmed with real-life instincts, so they interact correctly with other dinosaurs and their environment.
“We really had to disengage everything we’d learnt before,” Mr Druitt said.
By the end of the year, 10 dinosaurs will be moving around and interacting in QUT’s huge interactive display, The Cube.
At that stage, the creators would take their hands off the controls and watch as the natural instincts the dinosaurs had been programmed with play out.
“Who knows what they’ll do,” Dr Hocknull said.
“This is the exciting thing for palaeontology – bringing this whole world to life and then giving it to the public.”