Since 2002, scholars at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, facilitated by a major grant from the National Science Foundation, have been working with the Department of Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on a major, long-term project to CT scan the Museum’s human skeletal collections of thousands of human and primate specimens, as well as collections from Columbia University, the American Museum of Natural History, and recently, the Mutter Museum of The College of Physicians in Philadelphia.The three-dimensional scans are stored in an Open Research Scan Archive, on computers in the Human Brain Evolution Laboratory in the Penn Museum. Researchers may schedule an appointment to work in the Lab, or request specific scans be downloaded and mailed to them. The Open Research Scan Archive Online includes all available research notes on each of the specimens.
Dr. Janet Monge, Acting Curator-in-charge of Penn Museum’s Physical Anthropology collection, and P. Thomas Schoenemann, Consulting Curator and Research Associate in the section, are the principal investigators of the National Science Foundation-funded project, which continues through 2009. “The purpose of this project is to facilitate research in skeletal biology, anthropology, biology, medicine, and related disciplines,” noted Dr. Monge. “These data-rich scans provide us, for the first time, with the ability to offer open access to our important skeletal collections, thereby providing an opportunity for all interested scholars to tap in to this raw data for their own research purposes.