Womb with a View — Animals in the Womb
They may grow to be very different beasts, but these breathtaking images reveal how surprisingly similar the beginning of life is for all of us in the animal kingdom. These pictures were captured using a revolutionary four-dimensional imaging technology and anatomically accurate models. Scientists have managed to shed light on the magical world of mammals inside their mothers’ womb.
The animals above are easy to identify — elephant, dolphin, dog and penguin and are all shown by their similar stages of development. The Asian elephant fetus above is shown at 12 months in the womb, catching some shut eye before she takes her first heavy steps in the world in another year. The gestation period for an elephant is 22 months. The unborn puppy looks ready set to pounce as he will reach his full gestation period at around nine weeks. For dolphins, the gestation period varies with species; for the small Tucuxi dolphin, the period is around 11 to 12 months, while for the orca, the gestation period is around 17 months.
Scientists captured the images for a National Geographic documentary called Animals in the Womb. They were created using a combination of ultrasound scans, computer graphics and small cameras, as well as some carefully created models, to document the animals’ development from conception to birth. They provide an unparalleled glimpse into a world that few of us would ever expect to see — and what a miraculous sight it is.