WHEN MOST ANIMALS bare their teeth, you’re presented with a mouth filled with white gnashers. But only some of a thornback ray’s teeth are present in its mouth – the vast majority of them are found on its skin.
Thornback rays are typically found off the coasts of Europe and western Africa. Like sharks, the rays are covered in dermal denticles, or ‘skin teeth’, that enable them to swim more efficiently. It was research into the differences between the renewal mechanisms of dermal denticles on rays and sharks that led to the creation of this striking image, which was created with an X-ray micro-CT scan. The colours in the picture, taken by Dan Sykes, relate to the density of the materials that make up the ray’s body. High-density parts, such as the skeleton and teeth, show up white. Muscle and connective tissue, which are low density, appear orange.
The images over these six pages are part of the Royal Photographic Society’s International Images for Science competition, sponsored by
You can see all the photographs at rps-science.org