So Frickin’ Cool! Snake Digesting a Rat

This is one of the more interesting things I’ve seen in my travels around the Internet, recently, so I felt the need to share it.  Click the picture to see the rest of the images.

Using a combination of computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scientists Kasper Hansen and Henrik Lauridsen of Aarhus University in Denmark were able to visualize the entire internal organ structures and vascular systems (aka “guts”) of a Burmese Python digesting a rat.

By choosing the right settings for contrast and light intensity during the scanning process, the scientists were able to highlight specific organs and make them appear in different colors. The non-invasive CT and MRI scans could let scientists look at animal anatomy without the need for other invasive methods such as dissections.

Not only does the snake owner/lover in me think that this is entirely awesome, I’m also mind-boggled by the possible applications of this sort of technology.  As a diagnostic tool for difficult digestive disorders (Crohn’s disease comes to mind) this could really be invaluable, since it gives a much more comprehensive picture than a colonoscopy could offer.  Anything that shows more details of soft tissues is  really important, since those things are often hard to see without actually opening up the body surgically.

Biology is so neat, and technology just makes it cooler.


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