Random assignment of a picture…

Chicken embryo vascular system. Photograph by Vincent Pasque, University of Cambridge

…And I thought I was lucky enough to get the picture of a brain (I think brains are VERY interesting). Glasses on and looking more closely I find that is a Chicken embryo vascular system. Still looks kind of brainish to me (maybe a bit of background is needed here, I’m a physicist and last time I looked at a biology book was very long ago). A quick search on google images for “human brain cross section” shows me that the ramifications I misunderstood for the ones in a brain are much thinner that what they should be. Well, I’ll go to bed tonight having learnt at least one more thing. But still, I’m assuming the embryo is the figure in the middle, what on earth are those trees?

On reading the description of this Wellcome Trust image, I learn that the tree ramifications at both sides of the embryo are the net of veins and arteries that are used to support  the flow of blood to feed the embryo. Just the mention of blood and a shiver goes down my spine. I’m one of those people who has to look away when getting a blood test (although I’m proud to say I’ve never fainted!). And still I find it amazing that only two days after fertilisation, this system is already in place to make the embryo into a full being. Isn’t Nature amazing?

Just imagine how much work do we (poor humans) have to put into the development of networks. Think of this embryo as a system composed of many elements (in this case organs, cells, etc) just like a city. And the yolk as the resource (wink wink resource theories, QI is never out of my mind really), let’s say the outskirts of a city wherefrom food is retrieved from. Think about how many headaches the development of such a network would cause to any individual in charge of it. Yes, and Nature does it in two days. In my opinion, mind-blowing.

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