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Day 15: The Respiratory System

An MRI's View

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MRI: Front views.

Positions (offset) are indicated:


Frame 80: front -8mm Today's MRIs are similar to yesterday's, although the pictures are not as clear. The chick seems to be more or less in the same position, head on the left, in the front view. Perhaps it is now too cramped in the egg for it to turn around.

MRI: Top views.

Here's a top view showing some details of the heart:


Frame 107: top  +2mm Frame 107 Enlargement

Another feature seems to be the heart, in frame 107. The bright spots above and below it are signals from the blood in the ventricle. These spots are in the wrong places because they are moving too rapidly. Notice that each spot has the same shape. The aorta or vena cava is visible to the right of the heart, also with several displaced spots. An enlargement of the heart area is shown also.

MRI: Side views.

Here are some side views. Positions (offset) are indicated:


Frame 97: side +4mm Frame 112: side +4mm
T1 Weighted Image T2 Weighted Image
As noted yesterday, the egg compartments have changed a lot since last week. However, today, we were able to compare T1 and T2 images and determine that the smaller compartment near the small end of the egg (e.g. CD-56 in frame 112) is probably the remains of the yolk (the contrast appearance is similar to the yolk in last week's images.

Frame 102

In this image you can see a spot between and below the eyes. This is probably an air passage - either the mouth or a nasal or sinus passage. It is dark because there is no longer any fluid in it - the chick is breathing air from the air cell!

One noticeable feature is the pair of dark bars, one on either side of the body (visible in yesterday's side views). You can see them in frame 102 (directly above) today. What are these? We thought they might be the lungs - collapsed at present since they are not in use - but it seems that bird lungs are different from mammals, and may not actually be paired. Or they might be bones - the equivalent of "shoulder blades."



Are these the feet?

Frame 228: front +4mm From 238: front +5mm

Here are two views showing a shadowy structure that might be the chick's feet. I think this is a reasonable assignment, since I was able to follow this through several slices back toward the body. They are really big! Notice how they penetrate into the yolk sac area. Probably what we see is the amniotic fluid around the feet, rather than the feet themselves.
Comments on these images by Carl Gregory.

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