As a student at Montana State University, Matt Smith decided to make a model based on a hypsilophodont skeleton at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman with guidance from curator Jack Horner. When I asked Horner for the research background on the anatomy, Smith recalls, he said none had been written. Go figure it out, Horner told me.
So I went to the grocery store and bought some whole chickens and started dissecting them to learn where the muscles went and how they related to the skeleton.
A lot of modelmaking is interpretation based on research from different disciplines, Smith points out. I have to apply principles of comparative anatomy and basic engineering to look at a skeleton as if it was a series of levers.