Specimens of extinct animals are among the most precious items in a museum’s collection. They are vital for research and education, especially those that have become extinct relatively recently due to human activity. Only seven skeletons of the extinct subspecies of plains zebra Equus quagga quagga are known to exist in museum collections worldwide, including a specimen on display at the Grant Museum of Zoology, London. However, the left hind leg and right scapula of this specimen have been missing for many years. As part of a recent project to conserve and remount this skeleton, the left scapula and articulated right hind limb were scanned using computed tomography (CT) so that mirrored data could be used to 3D print the missing bones. The 3D-printed models installed on the original specimen do more than provide an anatomically complete skeleton and improve the physical stability of the specimen; the black 3D printed bones contrast with the rest of the skeleton, which highlights the work undertaken and provides a more engaging exhibit. The CT scans are also available for research and as an interactive 3D model within the display.

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Author notes

Associate Editor.—Yemisi Dare