Well, I’m not sure whether this violates my no cute cuddly baby animal rule or not, but I was struck today by an image from the Oklahoma City Zoo showing a baby elephant in utero. This is, of course, an ultrasound image taken of an eighteen year old female elephant Asha at the Zoo. Zoo officials announced on Tuesday, October 8 that Asha is with calf. She is seven months pregnant which means, given the elephant’s gestational period of pachyderms, that she isn’t due until December of 2014.
There are a number of important points to be made here. First, is that sound waves can be used to produce images just like light waves, and the laws of physics regarding resolution etc. are pretty much the same. You may ask whether this is really a photograph. I would argue that it is. The wonder of all of the amazing medical imaging modalities (CT, PET, MRI, ultrasound etc.) is that they enable us to see the previously unseen and like a good photograph they make us wonder, to think about, and to see in new ways. Right now I am marveling that I never thought that I would see a photograph of an unborn baby elephant, whose trunk is clearly visible.