Fabian de Kok-Mercado, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Art as Applied to Medicine
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Owls (Order Strigiformes) can perform 270-degree neck rotations. The cervico-cephalic vessels are notoriously sensitive to rotary motion in most vertebrates, including man, in whom injury of these arteries commonly leads to cerebral infarction. This poster was created as part of a Master’s thesis study that examined whether owls have evolved specific arterial adaptations that accommodate their extreme range of neck rotation. The intermediate carotid and vertebral arteries were closely examined from the basi-cervical region up to the formation of the basilar artery using 3D Fusion digital subtraction angiography and traditional dissection techniques. Numerous vascular adaptations were documented that were considered directly related to neck rotation. The study was conducted on 12 deceased owl specimens. None were sacrificed for the purpose of this study. The full study team included Fabian de Kok-Mercado, Michael Habib, Tim Phelps, Lydia Gregg and Philippe Gailloud.
Comparative Anatomists, Ornithologists, Morphologists, and Veterinarians
The purpose of this poster is to summarize a portion of the findings yielded by this investigation. Key arterial landmarks considered specific adaptations related to the owl’s extensive gyratory elasticity have been highlighted. In addition, the poster was created to aid veterinarians caring for injured birds, considering that most accidental owl deaths are caused by hemorrhages secondary to car collision.
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A traditional rendering technique was implemented for the illustrations in order focus the viewer’s attention on key didactic elements that provide visual translations of the hard-edged radiology data. The design and layout strives for continuity and harmony between the written and visual data presented.
Close attention is placed on the interaction between labels, text, and images. Information and data have been visually tiered in a meaningful order to increase comprehension. Labels for key anatomical landmarks are highlighted in bold and are also highlighted in the descriptions to provide relevance and continuity. Opacity and color-coding are used sparingly within the illustrations to pull focal points into the foreground when necessary.
This poster represents the first comprehensive investigation clarifying the cervical arterial anatomy of the owl. Although fragmentary information can be found in older literature, knowledge of the anatomy of the carotid and vertebral arteries of the owl prior to this study was quasi inexistent. In addition to filling a gap in the field of descriptive avian morphology, the data gathered during this study sheds light on the vascular adaptations allowing for the owl’s unique cervical mobility.
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