If you ever stared at a chrysalis as a kid, patiently waiting for a beautiful new butterfly to emerge, you were probably left wondering just what was going on inside there. Was the caterpillar reconfiguring itself like a Transformer? Was it morphing like a Terminator? Nobody knows—except now everyone does thanks to these fascinating micro-CT 3D x-ray scans of the process.

Two research teams used the cutting edge imaging technique to routinely scan a chrysalis during its metamorphosis and generate 3D models of its organs and other internal structures changing over time. Smaller details—like details of the brain—are unfortunately still left out with the limitations of the technology. But as they improve, so will our understanding of this unique process. Not to mention, kids won't have to wait weeks to see a butterfly finally emerge—they can just hit fast forward. [National Geographic via Boing Boing]