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Deep-sea dragonfish research

x-ray image of the skeleton of a dragonfish

The most puzzling characteristic of deep-sea dragonfishes (stromiids) is found where their backbone (or vertebral column) approaches the back of their skull. In the anterior region of the backbone, these fishes have a noticeable space between the skull and what appears to be the first vertebra. Recently a team of scientists that included Nalani Schnell, Ralf Britz, and Dave Johnson of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History earned the Reinhard Rieger Award for excellence in research in zoomorphology for their work unraveling the mystery of this vertebral gap. Click HERE to learn more.


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