By JI Reporter Maggie Peklo
People think about the world of anatomy. How else is one supposed to understand the body first hand? Well the confident, independent, thinking leaders of Marian are taking the fetal pigs by the tail and dissecting them the week of April 29.
Mrs. Linda Brock, the anatomy and physiology teacher at Marian, said fetal pigs are chosen because their anatomy is closely related to humans. “I chose to dissect pigs for my classes because nobody really has them as a pet. Another common animal whose anatomy is close to humans is a cat, but many girls have cats as pets which can cause problems,” Brock said.
Pigs and cats aren’t the only specimens dissected. Brock said she has dissected frogs, jellyfish, sponges, earthworms, turtles, clams, grasshoppers and humans in her personal years of schooling.
“We get our pigs from a scientific supplies store which gets them from slaughter houses. Farmers will sell their pregnant pigs to science sometimes because they don’t have the supply or money to take care of the babies or vaccinate them,” Brock said. Though you may have heard stories about moral objection to dissection, Marian has never encountered these situations because of their educational value.
By the time the pigs are sold, they are just about ready to be born. Brock orders them just in time for the dissection because they take a few weeks to get to Marian. The pigs come in a vacuum sealed package. According to Brock, the only difficulty in storing them is the large quantity, but she doesn’t have to store them for long because they arrive only a few days before the dissection.
The fetal pig dissection is Marian’s Anatomy class’s biggest dissection. “It’s my review session for the final since there is a short lab that goes with it, and it’s more fun for the girls. Although they have specific directions such as how to cut the pig and what to find, they definitely have more freedom to explore the body and see how it all works together,” Brock said.
The students are looking forward to the dissection and seeing the body in action. “Since we have just finished learning the digestive system, I am looking forward to seeing the digestive system in action and comparing the pig’s body to a humans. We dissected a chicken’s wing to see how the muscles in the arm work, then we got to see a cows cardiovascular system up close and how that all works, lastly we get to dissect a fetal pig which brings all of that into one. This one is different because it focuses more on the organs in the digestive system that run throughout your whole body,” senior Karly Firmature said.
Anatomy has also been a stepping stone for students interested in pursuing a medical career. This dissection is giving them the chance to explore medicine and the body and get a feel for the field. “This class has made me want to continue my education of anatomy and sciences of the body. I was already interested in all of this from the beginning, but it was truly Mrs. Brock that made me keep up with this dream of pursuing a medical career,” Firmature said.
You can keep up with the fetal pig dissection the week of April 29. Just ask one of your anatomy pals!
Do you have a dissection lab story to share? Feel free to do so in the comments below!