Capturing Animals in 3D for the Future

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We are witnessing one of the largest extinction events in history because people deny that climate change is happening. Regardless of the deniers and the death of entire species we can do something that will help the future of humanity: getting as much information about those species as we can while they are alive.

One way to understand species is to just look at them. That’s exactly what some people are doing, they are capturing a “Noah’s Ark” of 3D digital images of animals before they go extinct.

The photographs are captured quickly, though the researchers are tweaking the system so it will eventually work even faster. “The current design is for animals that are willing to pose for a second or two for a photograph,” says Irschick. “But we’re moving toward systems that would work with a moving animal.”

There are 4,000 frog species in the world, and the team plans to start by digitally preserving 40 to 60, working as quickly as possible. For one species they planned to scan—Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog—the last known individual in the world died in September.

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