Guest Blog: New App Features Fossils from the VMNH Collections


3D Fossil, an app that was just released this past month features material from the VMNH collection of pre-Dinosaur Age fossils (Paleozoic). These fossils include rare specimens that are not on display, such as the fossil starfish shown above, and can only be seen in this app.

At the beginning of the app, you select one of 4 avatars, which include a man, woman, boy, and girl.


Then you go on a virtual field trip and collect the fossils. A map and Mini map reveal your location and the location of the fossils.  The landscape and geology have been accurately modelled and are based on the area along Route 311 near Salem, Virginia.


The fossils have been carefully placed in their correct location, so that you can see age relationships of the fossils and geology. Information is also given on the geologic history of the area.


There is a puzzle at the end in which you can sort fossils according to their geologic age.


This app is available on the Apple App Store for the iPod 5, iPad 2 and later, and iPhone 5 and later  The app was created by Educational Virtual Worlds, which is a company owned by VMNH Research Associate Bill Schmachtenberg. Alex Hastings helped with photographing some of the smaller fossils for the app.


The app is available on Google Play Store for Android 4.1 and later devices.


The app is also available on the Windows Store for Windows 10 devices.


Marianne Hellberg, a teacher and app developer in Sweden, adapted the app so that it could be sold on Google Play and the Windows Store. Check it out!

About Alex

I started as the Assistant Curator of Paleontology at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in July of 2015. It's been a fun ride so far, with many more projects on the horizion. My background is in fossil reptiles, especially crocodiles and their kin. Here in Virginia, I've also been getting to know the fascinating world of fossil insects, sharks, and the ice age.
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