Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Wellcome Image Awards 2017 Carrier Pigeon
10 June 2017

Carrier Pigeon

This pigeon is carrying a bright red dye that shows off its blood vessels. Developed as part of The Grey Parrot Anatomy Project, the dye was first used to investigate thermoregulation – how animals use blood flow near the skin to control their temperature. But piping the dye into human cadavers sheds light on our own anatomy. Computerised tomography uses X-rays to take virtual slices of a human brain – or pigeon’s head – while the scarlet dye as a contrast agent, a chemical that shows up brighter than the surrounding flesh. The scans can then be assembled in 3D. The technique has given teachers, students and researchers insight into how blood vessels are arranged in human tissues, and how these patterns might change with age and disease.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.