January & February 2001 Mystery Image
Image by William Sharp & CJ Kazilek
The new year brought a whole new batch of new guesses for our mystery image. From fossils to bones and even the intestines of a sea creature. What was the mystery image?
We have to confess that we were tricky this time. This is handmade paper. What does paper have to do with biology? That is a good question. Most paper is made from plant material. We usually see paper that is made from tree pulp. Before pulp-based paper, most paper was made from cotton rags.
OK, so this must be paper, but what kind?
This is an scanning electron picture of a handmade paper made from barrel cactus. The curly tube-like things are called xylem. Remember there are two ways plants move (transport materials around the plant).
- Xylem - is the transport system for water and minerals from the
roots to the rest of the plant. The xylem is a non-living part of
- Phloem - is made of living cells that transport sugar and other
nutrients throughout the plant.
If you want to see more images of paper visit the galleries of the Paper Project.
For those of you that are curious, here are some numbers from our list of guesses. We had several people get close to the correct answer and one person that got the exact answer. Congratulations Chris, you are the only one that guessed a plant xylem tubes. We give you full credit even if you did not know it was from handmade paper.
- 89% guessed this was an animal or part of an animal
- 10% guessed this was part of a plant
A further break down of the guesses revealed the following:
- 26% guessed it was either bones or microscopic parts of bones
- 10% guessed it was a picture of fossils
- 10% guessed it was snake skin
Some of the creative single answers are listed below.
- Kidney tissue - nephrons, Loop of Henle and convoluted tubules
- The intestines of a sea creature
- Damaged bone marrow cells