Thermal imaging: A closer look at London Zoo
Wednesday 06 February 2008
Do not adjust your screen: these lurid photographs are neither a misprint nor a preview of a contemporary art sale, but a line up of London Zoo's finest residents, as seen through the lens of a thermal-imaging camera.
The pictures were taken with a FLIR – that's "forward-looking infrared" – camera by altruistic amateur photographer Steve Lowe, who donated the snaps to the zoo. The keepers are using them for the enlightenment of their many young visitors.
As you might have guessed, the red areas of the animals are where heat is escaping. The blue areas are where surface heat is lowest – where the animal is conserving heat most efficiently using fur and feathers.
"These pictures are a fantastic educational resource," says London Zoo's zoological director, David Field. "The picture of the zebra, where the warmest parts on the skin are the black stripes, illustrates that black is a heat-conserving colour. But there is a more serious point about thermal heat images. They are very useful to us, and in veterinary science, because they can pinpoint infection – infected parts of the body tend to be hotter." And surprising biological quirks show up under the FLIR lens.
"Everyone makes fun of flamingos standing on one leg," says Field, "but you can see that it's a brilliant way of staying warm while staying upright." One to try at the bus-stop, then.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£33000 - £35000 per annum + Pension and holidays: The Jenrick Group: Project E...
£35200 per annum + Pension and holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Engine...
£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing specialist merchant co...
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £50k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 bus...