Designers and researchers are working on creating a new metaverse-based, scientifically accurate virtual models of Ice Age animals for museum-goers to view digitally.

Led by Dr. Matt Davis and colleagues at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and La Brea Tar Pits, a team has recreated Ice Age animals published recently in Palaeontologia Electronica. The recreations are basic enough to be able to run on mobile phones.

Currently, the animals can be viewed through SnapChat, Instagram, or Sketchfab by scanning the icons found here.

According to study co-author Dr. William Swartout, Chief Technology Officer at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, “The innovation of this approach is that it allows us to create scientifically accurate artwork for the metaverse without overcommitting to details where we still lack good fossil evidence.”

“We think paleoart is a crucial part of paleontological research,” said Dr. Davis. “That’s why we decided to publish all the scientific research and artistic decisions that went into creating these models. This will make it easier for other scientists and paleoartists to critique and build off our team’s work.”

In December of last year, Dmitry Ozerkov, head of the contemporary art department at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, predicted that eventually, all museums and galleries will have a digital copy of themselves in the metaverse.

Ozerkov told Cointelegraph that “We are all moving into the digital era and our digital twin will be following us everywhere.”

The State Hermitage, which is the largest museum in the world by gallery space, has taken its own steps to copy itself into the metaverse, including selling non-fungible token (NFT) versions of five of its most well-known pieces. It also launched a fully digital exhibition called “The Ethereum Aether,” which included 38 NFTs that were situated in a virtual reconstruction of the museum.

“You can pass through these doors without touching anything, while in the virtual world, you can do anything: you can play with artworks, you can make them interactive, you can add data to it”, explained Ozerkov.

In a recent report on the metaverse, banking behemoth JPMorgan revealed that it had also opened its own digital space, called the Onyx Lounge, named after the bank’s blockchain system, in the Decentraland virtual world.

So far, the bank’s “lounge” is somewhat bare and with little purpose, but could set the foundation for a change in narrative in which other business such as stores, consultancies, galleries and museums open virtual locations in the metaverse.

“In the metaverse, some of the existing services and business models we are familiar with will continue to exist, but the metaverse opens a whole new realm of ways to engage which we expect will lead to uniquely new services and business models,” JPM said.

“Not everything in the metaverse will be relevant for every business. However, there is little downside to taking the opportunity to explore.”

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