Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a leading health technology company, today presented the results of a Spectral CT scan of the tail vertebrae of Trix, a 66 million year old Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur. Working with Leiden’s Naturalis museum in the Netherlands, Philips offered to scan one of the world’s most complete and best preserved T. Rex skeletons. The aim of the scan was to evaluate how images of Trix’s tail vertebrae obtained using Philips’ IQon Spectral CT imaging differ from conventional CT images, and to provide a level of detail not visible to paleontologists until now.
Trix, who was discovered in Montana, USA, in 2013, was purchased by the Naturalis museum and transported to the Netherlands on August 23, 2016. For 66 million years this carnivorous dinosaur lay buried in the rocks. As the organic matter had virtually all disappeared, only the skeleton was left, and over the millennia a mineralization process took place. As a result, Trix’s fossilized bones can be considered ‘remineralized’ representations of her original bones.
The smaller bones in the tail of a T. Rex fossil are often missing, lost to scavenging or washed away by currents prior to burial and fossilization. Intact smaller tail elements of a T. Rex are therefore rare, and Philips was not aware of much prior work on the internal structure of these elements. However, Trix has a beautifully preserved tail. Paleontologist and dinosaur expert Anne Schulp of Naturalis was keen to examine Trix’s vertebrae in greater detail. On August 31, her four tail vertebrae (C20 – C23) were scanned on a Philips IQon Spectral CT scanner in Best, in the Netherlands.
“We have already looked at some of the bones using a regular medical CT scanner, but we had a little problem,” said Anne Schulp, Paleontologist and dinosaur expert at Naturalis. “There is a deposit of pyrite – an iron rich mineral that blurs the complete picture because it absorbs the X-rays. So basically we required a different technology.”