Visualizing the earliest lifeforms: Brad Samuels & Adam Maloof

"These collaborations have pushed us to the perimeters of our respective disciplines."

Sponges might not seem like the most noble of creatures, but they are some of our earliest ancestors. The problem is that their fossils (some of which may be 650 million years old) are riddled with limestone that filled the dead sponges’ innumerable pores. Working together, architect Brad Samuels and biologist Adam Maloof built a scanner that can draft 3-D images of these most ancient creatures by distinguishing the once-living material from simple stone — revealing the shape Earth’s earliest life. (Filmed at TEDxCooperUnion)

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