Studying fishes: From Paleozoic paleontology
to virtual reality

Stuart Sumida, Ph.D.
California State University, San Bernardino

Wednesday, June 30, 1999
3:00 p.m.—Pacific Forum

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The study of fishes spans numerous disciplines. Regardless of whether those studied are extant or extinct, they include issues of structure, function, and evolution. Further, studies of fishes play a critical role in environmental analyses for ichthyologists, and environmental reconstruction for paleontologists. Paleontologists must deal with the difficulties of incomplete morphological data and functional analyses (usually) limited to data from the skeletal system. The study of incomplete, but nonetheless useful, fossil fishes from the early Permian (280 million years before present) is used as an example of how these activities are carried out. Additionally, the exercise of functional determination based on limited data pre-adapts one to function in limited or highly specialized media. In a second case study, the uses of skeletal biology and function learned as a paleontologist and functional morphologist are shown to be useful to digital artists designing virtual reality activities and attractions.

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 Last updated: December 19, 2000