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Swallow, X-ray

Swallow, X-ray

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Swallow, X-ray

Swallow. Coloured X-ray of a swallow (family Hirundidae). The swallow spends much of its time on the wing, and it is well adapted for energy- efficient flight; its hollow bones and toothless mouth ensure that its skeleton is as light as possible. The swallows wings (upper left and right) are anatomically analogous to a humans hands, but many of the " finger" bones have been lost. The large breast bone (upper centre) supports the breast muscle (not seen), which provides the power needed for the swallow to flap its wings. This bird has broken one of the bones (upper left) in its left wing

Science Photo Library features Science and Medical images including photos and illustrations

Media ID 6465387


Bird Bones Break Broken Flight Flying Fracture Fractured Hollow Injured Injury Light Passerine Radiograph Radiography Skeletal Swallow Wing Winged Wings

This print showcases the intricate beauty of a swallow, captured through the lens of an X-ray. The image reveals the remarkable adaptations that enable this bird to excel in energy-efficient flight. With its hollow bones and toothless mouth, the swallow's skeleton is incredibly lightweight, allowing it to effortlessly glide through the air. The wings of the swallow, seen in vibrant detail on both sides of the image, are analogous to a human's hands. However, many of their finger-like bones have been lost over time as part of their evolutionary journey. At the center of attention lies a large breast bone that supports the unseen breast muscle responsible for powering each flap of its wings. Yet, amidst this display of grace and agility, we also witness nature's harsh reality. A broken bone in one wing serves as a reminder that even these masterful creatures are not immune to injury. This snapshot captures both fragility and resilience within one frame. Through radiography techniques employed by Science Photo Library, we gain insight into this avian marvel's skeletal structure – an exquisite blend between strength and lightness. This photograph invites us into a world where science meets artistry; where every fracture tells a story about survival and adaptation. In this single print lies an entire narrative encompassing wild life, zoology, anatomy, and wonderment at nature's boundless creations - all frozen in time by Science Photo Library for our contemplation and appreciation.

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