Worth a Thousand Words

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This post is written by Nicholas Ellinwood, who has worked with PLoS ONE since last year. He is a Publications Assistant who focuses on assigning Academic Editors to appropriate manuscripts, managing email queries and handling our new species papers.


A CT and MRI of a red-eared slider are this week’s featured image. These pictures from Figure 1 of the article entitled “Inside Out: ModernImaging Techniques to Reveal Animal Anatomy” show how CT and MRI have different capacities in visualizing vasculature, soft tissue, and skeleton.

The paper by Lauridsen et al. includes many more three-dimensional visualizations of animal anatomy in living specimens including fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and spiders.  The authors encourage other biologists to take advantage of modern imaging modalities like clinical scanners that exist in most current large hospitals.

The abstract reads:

“Animal anatomy has traditionally relied on detailed dissections to produce anatomical illustrations, but modern imaging modalities, such as MRI and CT, now represent an enormous resource that allows for fast non-invasive visualizations of animal anatomy in living animals. These modalities also allow for creation of three-dimensional representations that can be of considerable value in the dissemination of anatomical studies. In this methodological review, we present our experiences using MRI, CT and mCT to create advanced representation of animal anatomy, including bones, inner organs and blood vessels in a variety of animals, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and spiders. The images have a similar quality to most traditional anatomical drawings and are presented together with interactive movies of the anatomical structures, where the object can be viewed from different angles. Given that clinical scanners found in the majority of larger hospitals are fully suitable for these purposes, we encourage biologists to take advantage of these imaging techniques in creation of three-dimensional graphical representations of internal structures.”

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