Beauty of science: inside a turtle egg

29-05-2015

The picture originates from an in ovo developmental survey of several species of turtles and crocodiles in collaboration with the crocodile farm in Pierrelatte, France. The initial X-ray imaging study was performed at beamline BM05 using fixed samples following a developmental series in preparation for future experiments using high quality low dose phase contrast imaging at beamline ID19. The aim of the future experiments is to follow a single individual in vivo/in ovo throughout its development.

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The image was created by propagation phase contrast X-ray microtomographic imaging of a sulcata turtle (Centrochelys sulcata) embryo fixed in ethanol after 80 days of incubation. This experiment was performed at beamline BM05 using a polychromatic X-ray beam with an average energy of 123 keV, using 4 metres of propagation and a voxel size of 29 micrometres. A series of 3D renderings was generated from the collected data after segmentation of the mineralised and soft parts to show both hard and soft tissue.

The data acquired has been made publically available through the open access ESRF palaeontology/evolutionary biology database (http://paleo.esrf.fr).

A selection of images demonstrating the use of synchrotron X-rays to image both hard and soft tissue inside the sulcata turtle egg.

A selection of images demonstrating the use of synchrotron X-rays to image both hard and soft tissue inside the sulcata turtle egg. Image credit: P. Tafforeau/ESRF/La ferme aux crocodiles de Pierrelatte.

 

Top image: Sulcata turtle (Centrochelys sulcata) embryo imaged by propagation phase contrast X-ray microtomographic imaging. Credit: P. Tafforeau/ESRF/La ferme aux crocodiles de Pierrelatte.