No bones about it

Hello, dear internets! Thank you for the warm welcome. I am extremely excited to be joining Southern Fried Science—talk about being in good company! For those of you who don’t know me, I am a student at the University of Oregon, where I study marine biology and journalism. I love all things science, but I have a small (ok, not so small) love for shark biology. I look forward to promoting ocean outreach through kick-ass science communication with the rest of the team, here at SFS.

Enough about me, on to some animal insides.

In honor of #unshark week’s end, I return to the awesome that is shark science. Like skates and rays, sharks are chondrichthyans, cartilaginous fishes whose skeletons are made primarily of cartilage rather than bone. Ever wonder what a mostly-boneless skeleton looks like? Sure you have (and if not, you are now thinking about it and the suspense is killing you, I say).

Shark skeletons are complex, beautiful, and thanks to Dr. Gavin Naylor, and his team at College of Charleston Naylor Lab, they are here for you to see.

These amazing 3D images are created from CT scans using Mimics software from Materialise, which allows the scanned images to be segmented piece by piece. The scans are being incorporated into an interactive web interface developed by Jason Davies, which will allow a user to select which portion of the skeleton they wish to explore in the interactive model.

The translation from shark to screen is no easy task–one which takes graduate researcher Callie Crawford over forty hours per specimen to complete. The Naylor team  has been gracious enough to share these images with Southern Fried Science, so please respect their work and attribute them properly.

Go forth and ogle. Can you spot the species from the inside, out?

Alopias superciliosus 2

Alopias superciliosus, big-eyed thresher shark. Weaponized tail, ’nuff said.

Ginglumostoma cirratum

Ginglumostoma cirratum, nurse shark . What a face.

Trigonognathus kabeyai

Trigonognathus kabeyai, the viper dogfish.

Pristioporus nudipinnis

Pristioporus nudipinnis. The shortnosed sawshark.


Mitsukurina owstoni

The infamous pointed snout of Mitsukurina owstoni, the goblin shark.

Sphyrna tiburo

The ventral side of Sphyrna tiburo, the bonnethead.

Squatina Nebulosa

Squatina nebulosa, the clouded angel shark.

Hemiscyllium ocellatum

Hemiscyllium ocellatum, the epaulette shark (a species of long-tailed carpet shark).

heterodontus francisci

Heterodontus francisci, the horn shark.

Etomopterus sheikoi

Ohai. Etomopterus sheikoi, the rasptooth dogfish.

All images courtesy of Callie Crawford, Jason Davies, and Gavin Naylor.


  1. Andrew David Thaler · February 9, 2014

    Fantastic first post and welcome to SFS!

    • Sarah Keartes · February 9, 2014

      Happy to be here! Thank you!

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