X-Rays of Fish Reveal Diversity

Scientists in the Division of Fishes at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History use X-ray imaging to study the complex bone structure and diversity of fish. This image gallery showcases X-ray images of sharks, their relatives, and bony fish, revealing how some fish have skeletons built from cartilage while others are built from bone.

In 2012, the National Museum of Natural History displayed "X-Ray Vision: Fish Inside Out," a temporary exhibit that showcased fish evolution and diversity through 40 black and white X-ray images prepared for research purposes. Each X-ray is paired with a photograph of the preserved fish specimen, demostrating the value of radiography as a means of study that does not damage or destroy the specimen. See the touring schedule to find out where this exhibit will be shown next, through 2015.

To see even more photos from the exhibit, visit Encyclopedia of Life's X-Ray Vision Collection.

The distinctive form of a winghead shark, Eusphyra blochii, is revealed in an X-ray image. The shark's eyes are spread far apart, giving it superb binocular vision.