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A Fish Last Supper

Fish X-Ray Carangoides gibber

December 11, 2012

December is Ichthyology (say it: ick-thee-ol-oh-gee) Month at the Academy, and now is your chance to see our special fish X-rays on a free behind-the-scenes tour of the fish collection.

Curatorial Research Assistant Kyle Luckenbill has been methodically photographing and X-raying certain specimens in the collection of more than 1.2 million dead fish in order to visually record key data before the fish degrade. Our Digital X-ray Machine captures images using a digital receptor connected to a computer rather than film. This quickly creates images that are so clear and detailed that we can see what a fish ate for its last supper!

In the video below, Luckenbill describes the importance and process of making the X-rays. Our exhibits team thought the images were so beautiful that two years ago they mounted some of them for display in our Art of Science Gallery.

The X-rays, of course, are only one highlight of the 30-minute, or so, tour. These tours are available at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays through Dec. 21. Ages 8 and older.

Video courtesy of The Scientist, which first published this video in a 2010 article reviewing the exhibition.

Click to watch video: