I'm short on time this week so will present you with this link to a 100-year-old image of a cat's tongue in today's Science Friday :
The text from the NPR Science Friday link is also reproduced below:
"You’re looking at a 3 mm-wide section of a cat tongue more than a century old. David Linstead’s captivating image was a winner in this year’s Wellcome Image Awards.
"The picture is actually a composite of 30 polarized light micrographs, or photographs taken with a digital camera and a microscope. A retired cell biologist, Linstead used microscopes professionally as a research tool, and later formed his “hobby addiction” after purchasing one, then another, and still more microscopes on eBay (also his go-to source for specimen-plated slides like this one). His particular interest is in combining modern illumination techniques with vintage slides dating from 1860 to 1910, the heyday of slide-making."
“The original person who made this slide likely had no thought of how it would be used in 100 years’ time,” says Linstead, who estimates that it dates back to the 1890s. “But when I saw it, I immediately knew it had great potential.”
"The promise lay in the way the slide was prepared. It wasn’t stained, for one, which allowed the cross-section’s true colors to be observed with polarized light—a feature of most cutting-edge microscopes of the Victorian age. Those yellow streaks, for instance, are horizontal muscles, and the sparse purple ones are muscles that run vertically."
"Furthermore, the original tissue had been injected with a dye—probably a solution of iron salt in warm gelatin, Linstead surmises—to make the capillaries, seen here as black squiggles, apparent. (The only alteration Linstead made to the image was to Photoshop the background gray, because the original magenta “didn’t go well with the rest of the slide.”)"
"Colors aside, the serrated ridge may be the most intriguing aspect of this picture. Those rough bumps, or papillae, are the reason that a kitty’s tongue feels like sandpaper when it licks you. When a cat grooms herself, the papillae
act like a comb to remove dirt and loose hair. But they also serve a grislier purpose: rasping meat off of bones. Fluffy might look sweet, but Linstead’s striking image is a reminder that the cat napping on the couch is a fierce predator."
The other 19 images in this year's Wellcome awards, including these specialized Purkinje brain cells, are also quite intriguing.
Let me know what you think. . .Hoping the cat doesn't have your tongue, er, thumbs.
[With fond thoughts of Lego's Noosie.]
Purkinje cells showing well-defined organization: