New online database of bones created


A team of researchers has taken the past five years to help create an online database of the bones of every arctic bird, mammal and fish, according to the Juneau Empire. The project, which is known as the Virtual Zooarchaeology of the Arctic Project, or VZAP, puts together data from universities and museums all over the world, including The Burke Museum, Smithsonian Institution and Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Now, the database is officially online via Idaho State University, according to the news source. Herb Maschner, creator of the database, teaches and acts as the director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, and said the database offers 3-D models which can be rotated and have cross-sections taken by interested parties.

“They’re higher resolution than most people’s computers can even display them,” he told the Empire. “We realized very early on there wasn’t a comparative collection anywhere in the world that was good enough to ID all of these bones. It would cost hundreds of thousands (of dollars) to travel to all the sites in the world to do so.”

Funding from the National Science Foundation allowed them to make all of these records available to those who have an Internet connection.

One advantage of using an online database in this way could be in-database analytics, something TechTarget said allows creators to build analytic logic into the individual database. This would eliminate the time it takes to transform and move data back and forth from the database to apps, and could bring about new discoveries with an online database such as this.