LONDON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Researchers in Britain say digital 3D copies of the thousands of items in the country's fossil archive are now available for the public to view.
The fossils, many of them buried in museum storage facilities, can be accesses and viewed through a new Web database billed as the world's first 3D virtual fossil collection, NewScientist.com reported Friday.
Users can browse and download the interactive 3D models along with thousands of high-quality images.
The Web database, at www.3d-fossils.ac.uk/, can be accessed through computers, tablets or smartphones.
The British Geological Survey has been working with 3D scanners since May 2012 to generate digital 3D copies of the thousands of fossils featured in the database.
The technology not only preserves artifacts without damaging them, but allows researchers and students access to a range of specimens once confined to dusty museum cabinets, officials at the survey said.