Pig Dissection

*Warning: The following post contains photos that may not be suitable for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

On Thursday April 10th 2014, the AP Bio class dissected pigs to observe their organs and body structures. We each got one fetal pig per three people. We choose to use pigs 10270233_10203690022399946_1860382003_nbecause they have similar structures and systems as humans. A fetal pig is a pig that has not been born yet. Our fetal pig was male. I learned at a vet summer program that pigs have a gestation period or are pregnant for three months, three weeks, and three days. The pigs we used were towards the end of their gestation period. One person was the main dissector and the other two were the writers, readers, and photographers.

When dissecting the pig, we looked at the digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, excretory system, and the reproductive system.

10178250_10203690022359945_1285198374_nWe first dissected the  umbilical cord and investigated the inside of the cord. We noticed that there were veins and arteries inside the umbilical cord. Veins are bigger in diameter then arteries. The pig had been injected with dyes turning the veins and arteries either blue or red. I learned that the arteries would carry away CO2 and other wastes, away from the pig inside the womb. Veins would carry oxygen and other nutrients toward the fetus.  We also noticed that even though our pig was a male, he had nipples. We learned that they are called papillae. On our pig there were 14 papillae. These papillae are used to deliver breast milk to piglets after they are born.

We then opened the jaw of the fetal pig and identified the different structures. In the Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.47.58 AMpicture on the right, look at the different structures of the pigs mouth.

We then dissected the abdomen and observed the organs in the abdomen. The largest organ in the abdomen is the liver. The liver detoxifies blood, produces bile, stores vitamin and iron, stores glucose, breaks down insulin and hemoglobin, converts ammonia to urea, an destroys old red blood cells. Under the liver is the gall bladder. Unlike the liver, the gall bladder is not a gland because unlike a gland, the gall bladder stores instead of secreting. The strip of tissue that lines the body’s wall is called the spleen. The spleen purifies blood and helps the immune system identify and attack foreign antigens. The digestive system includes the liver, stomach, spleen, pancreas, and intestines.

1555875_10203690022439947_1106223052_nThen, we looked at the respiratory and circulatory system. We looked at the heart, veins, arteries, and lungs. I never realized how much work went into breathing. The execratory system came next, which includes the bladder and the kidney. We finished with the reproductive system. Because we had a male, we had to look at a different pig that was a female to look at the ovaries. In the male we were able to see the urethra, scrotum, and testes. 10248811_10203690022319944_1779070374_n

All in all this was a great experience and I’m glad we were able to do the dissection. We got to see all the organs and how they relate to each other up close and personally. Seeing the organs in real life was much better then looking at a drawing because we got to really see how the body works.

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5 Responses to Pig Dissection

  1. Carly, your blog post is great! I like how you share the detailed content you learned and also your reaction to the lab. This was just a little preview of your work as a future amazing vet!

  2. Hannah R says:

    Your blogpost is very detailed and really goes through each of the steps of the process.

  3. nrossi says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I felt like I was actually going through the whole process again in my head. This is a good way to inform people of what dissecting a pig is like and what to look for. Dissection is a great way to study anatomy and you clearly convey that.

  4. lmorabe15 says:

    Your post is very informative and exciting to read. I liked how you explained some of the parts in the pig which let the readers know what you learned.

  5. Hey Carly, this post looks awesome! It was cool to learn about the gestation period of the pig and all of the visuals you included were really interesting and relevant 🙂 So glad you were able to work with the pig!

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