Life

The Scale of a Whale

You can’t measure the length of a humpback whale with a tape measure. So biologists at the Duke Marine Lab have found a way to estimate whale size from above, using cameras mounted on flying drones. To perfect this technique, graduate student Elizabeth Mason took aerial images of this life-sized inflatable whale laid out across the football field at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, NC.

Gut Bouquet

This Valentine’s day, everything is coming up roses -- even our guts. This cellular bouquet, composed by research associate Chong Li Yen at Duke-NUS in Singapore, is in fact a slice of human colon tissue viewed under a microscope. The tissue is cut to reveal the cross-sections of intestinal glands, tiny wells in the gut wall that absorb water and nutrients while oozing mucus and digestive enzymes.

Glowing Green Guts

To untangle the links between guts and brains, some scientists are starting small: with the tiny transparent worm C. Elegans, whose guts glow green and neurons glow orange in this composite illustration and microscope image.

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