A star fish is even more extraordinary when X-rayed.

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Fish are vertebrates—animals with backbones—and have bodies supported by a bony skeleton. Variations in the skeleton, such as the number of vertebrae or the position of fins, tell the story of fish evolution, and x-rays capture that story. Before the discovery of x-rays in 1895, the only way to study fish skeletons was by slow, careful dissection, one fish at a time. But with x-ray technology, details of specimens can be recorded quickly, easily, and economically—while the specimens remain intact.
X-ray of a watersnake eating a fish
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Another application of the x-ray images is to determine how sound energy reflection changes as a fish grows. It is typically assumed that energy return (i.e. target strength) increases with fish size, but that may not be the case for all species. Relationships between target strength and fish length are sometimes developed based on measurements from dissected fish, but the dissection process itself may affect the size/shape of the swimbladder. The x-ray images that Chu is taking will help to more quantitatively describe the swimbladders of hake, as well as other fish species. x-ray fishy.....oh cousin Alex! Check this dude out!
Photo provided by FlickrImage of an X-Ray, taken in 1935, of the pelvis of Albert Fish depicting 29 imbedded needles.
Photo provided by FlickrA star fish is even more extraordinary when X-rayed.
Photo provided by Flickr
X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out explores the diversity and evolution of fish through x-ray images produced by Smithsonian scientists. Although the x-rays featured in this exhibit were made for research purposes, the strikingly elegant images demonstrate the natural union of science and art. Arranged in evolutionary sequence—from fishes such as sharks and skates, which have cartilage instead of bone, to bony, spiny-finned species—these x-rays will lead you on a tour through the long stream of evolution.Before the discovery of the X-ray, scientists could only obtain these insights through dissection, which took time, energy, and was ultimately destructive to the specimen. X-rays give fish experts, also known as ichthyologists, a fast easy, and nondestructive way to enhance their research.Whether at the doctor's office or in the museum lab, all x-ray images (also called radiographs) employ the same principle: a beam of x-rays is generated and focused on an object, which absorbs some of the rays. Bone is a dense tissue that absorbs most of the x-rays, whereas soft tissue such as the heart or gut absorbs fewer. The x-rays that pass through a fish are captured on film or a digital detector, which produces an image that makes the specimen appear transparent: bone is white, and soft tissue is grayishblack. The x-rays in this collection were taken at exposures of 30 to 70 kilovolts for 5 to 10 seconds, depending on the size and density of the fish.The most of the X-Ray is the translucent layer of skin that covers its small body, allowing the Fish's backbone to be clearly seen. The scales of the X-Ray are a silvery-yellowish that is very faint, looking almost golden in some lights. The X-Ray also has a re-tipped tail and strikingly striped dorsal and anal fins that are yellow, black and white in . This is a relatively small of that actually has a bony internal structure known as the Weberian apparatus, which is used in picking up sound waves, and contributes to their acute sense of hearing (this bony structure is also found in many of their relatives). Females are generally slightly larger and rounder than the more slender males, although the two are very similar in appearance.For many years, the production of x-ray images involved a chemical film developing process. Today, radiographer Sandra J. Raredon uses a digital radiographic machine. She places a specimen on a digital tablet and “hits” it with a beam of x-rays. The rays that pass through the fish are captured on the tablet and translated directly into an image on a computer monitor. No film is used. The image is recorded as a digital file, ready for immediate study, and is ultimately archived in the files of the National Collection of Fishes.If you’re still not convinced these beautiful x-rays qualify as art, check out “,” a series of photos of fish that have been bleached and stained with vibrant colors to highlight their internal structure.