When pigs fly: Senior anatomy dissection won’t be the same this year

By J1 Reporter Sylvia Poulos

     Many Marian girls have heard of the fetal pig dissection. You know, the one that makes the hallways a little smelly for a couple of days? Marian’s senior anatomy teacher, Mrs. Linda Brock, has conducted this lab for years. The dissection has been a tradition for her anatomy classes. The purpose of it is to allow students to have a hands-on experience with a real body. 

      According to Dr. Sharon Genoways, the chair of the science department, “Fetal pigs are a preferred specimen because they very closely mirror human anatomy.” The pigs are in excellent condition because they are removed from their mom immediately during slaughter.         

   Marian used to dissect a variety of species including earthworms, grasshoppers, crayfish, perches and frogs. Sadly this was discontinued due to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) updating their principles. However, fetal pigs have remained for use. According to Dr. Genoways, the animals are supplied by Nebraska Scientific.  

    “Each day we would cut different sections of the pig open. We did this so that we could see where the organs were placed and what they looked like. This was beneficial because it pulled the whole section together,” 2019 graduate Molly Miller explained. Past students have explained that this lab was not only a fun learning experience, but it also helped many of them understand the material.

     However, due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, this year’s dissection has been cancelled. This is a bummer for Mrs. Brock and her senior anatomy classes because this is the only year they would have been able to participate. “We have spent the entire year exploring the different body systems and how they function with one another. This was our only chance to physically experience that process,” senior Kaelynn Eisele said.

 Since this lab includes all the information the students have learned in the second semester, many are curious as to which alternative Mrs. Brock will use. “That’s really too bad…I will do it virtually through a program I already use with the seniors—it is not the same. I’ve never done it before, so perhaps a new adventure is in order,“ Mrs. Brock said. She hopes to host a virtual dissection from her home, around the time the lab would have been, in which the students will view her performing it instead.

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Seniors from the Class of 2014 embrace the fetal pig dissection lab. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Brock.

 

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