Walk with woolly mammoths in the MetaVerse as scientist recreates ice age with augmented reality

It won’t be long before you encounter a giant furry friend from the early Pliocene era! Scientists are working to revive the woolly mammoth in the Metaverse! Would you stomp on virtual Pliocene ice too? Could be! Here’s what we know about the ambitious project.

Researchers from the La Brea Tar Pits and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and University of Southern California (USC) are teaming up to bring the now-extinct exotic animals of the Ice Age to life in Augmented Reality. The researchers have produced scientifically accurate virtual models of Pliocene (ice age) animals that were recently published in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica. The whole project is a work of Paleoart. Paleoart refers to original artwork in sketch, paint, or any other medium that attempts to accurately depict prehistoric life without any semblance of fiction. It is a complex art form that requires more than just creative imagination. It involves tons of scientific, archaeological and paleontological and domain-specific knowledge, research and yes data!

Image: Scientifically accurate VR model of the Columbian Mammoth / La Brea Tar Pits

The researchers digitally designed 13 new paleo doctors. These are animated virtual characters built on low poly models. Low poly models essentially obviate the need for a higher display and an expensive game engine, making the art achievable for mobile devices as well. For example, the 3D models are optimized for seamless AR in smartphones. You can view some of these virtual models at https://sketchfab.com/NHMLA/collections

Building on the essence of the project, William Swartout, CTO of the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies said that “Paleoart allows us to recreate scientifically accurate facsimiles of the past in the Metaverse, without going into the details.” (paraphrased).

Now you will encounter the giant woolly friend, roaming the Metaverse along with bear-sized ice age sloths, mastodons and more!

Petition to recreate Scrat also in the Metaverse.

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Cover Image: Pixabay

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