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Image of the Week: Mole X-ray

1 Nov, 2013

Mole x-ray

This week we decided to search the Wellcome image library for something suitably scary to mark Halloween. Guessing you might have had your fill of ghosts and ghouls for one year, we’ve plumped for this little fellow.

The image is a direct x-ray projection of a mole (Talpa europaea) showing its skull and paw. Moles have a sixth digit on each front paw, which is in fact a wrist bone that has extended like a claw. It is thought to develop later than the other five digits and it helps the mole to dig its underground tunnels.

Those sharp teeth are used to munch through a diet of insects and worms, and with all that digging moles can work up quite an appetite. A mole can eat 70-100% of its own weight in food each day!

Chris Thorn, the radiographer and artist who created this image, likes to remind people of the creatures we share our countryside with, while also offering a deeper insight into the functioning structures normally hidden from view.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 Nov, 2013 10:53 am

    Mole Paw Image – Just to advise that the BBC have picked up on this and will screen it on their natural history programme ‘Secrets of Bones’ BBC4 in January 2014

  2. 25 Feb, 2014 9:32 pm

    Can’t see this mole pic on your website? Know where I can get a really high res copy?

    • Kate Arkless Gray, Wellcome Trust permalink
      26 Feb, 2014 10:31 am

      Apologies – the photo should have linked through to the image on Wellcome Images (it does now) – here’s the direct link though

  3. 27 Feb, 2014 10:44 am

    Kate : Did you see this picture on BBC4 last night 26.02.14 Secrets of Bones?
    Picture was featured (about 20 minutes into this episode).

    • Kate, Wellcome Trust permalink
      27 Feb, 2014 2:37 pm

      No – that’s brilliant though! iPlayer it is! Did you let the folk at @wellcomeimages know too?

      • 27 Feb, 2014 3:37 pm

        No I hadn’t. I suppose I ought to really. I’ll get on to it now. Thanks.

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