Peering into a Pig

Fetal Pig Dissection

Throughout the last two classes, we got a chance to dissect a fetal pig. This is the first dissection I’ve gotten a chance to do, and it was definitely and interesting experience. It gave us a chance to learn hands on how the systems work together, follow them through.

Why pigs? Pigs are used in this dissection because they are small, and as mammals there body structure is similar to that of humans. Some traits that mammals all share are that they are warm-blooded vertebrates, they secrete milk to feed their young from mammary glands (where the name mammal comes from) and they have either fur or hair.


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Some of the main systems in the pig we had a chance to look at included the digestive system, the excretory system, the respiratory system, the reproductive system and the heart.

First, we took a look at the umbilical cord. Because this is a fetal pig, the umbilical cord was still attached. We cut this open to take a look at the vein and two arteries inside. These veins and arteries returned to the mother, effectively connecting the fetus and its mother throughout the pregnancy. Because this fetal pig was dyed (paint was placed into it specially), the veins appear blue and the arteries red.

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Next, we got a chance to check the gender of our pig. We discovered that our pig was male, as the urogenital opening was just posterior (behind, towards the back of) the umbilical cord.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 10.03.16 PMWe got a chance to peer inside the mouth of out pig by opening up the jaw. This is the start of the respiratory system, as well as the digestive system.

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Then we cut the pig open (very carefully) and looked inside. This gave us a chance to look at various organs and internal structures, and we came to understand the pig better. Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 10.15.19 PM


Getting a chance to experience the process of dissection was a fascinating experience. I got a chance to explore body systems, how they function, where they are, and look at them up close and personal. I got a chance to examine the structure of each organ and where it was located in the body systems. I learned a lot through this experience- working hands on in a laboratory environment in which you can explore is an important experience for everyone.








I hope you got a chance to learn something, whether about mammals, body systems, dissections, or anything else. And as always, remember- Explore, Dream, Examine!



3 thoughts on “Peering into a Pig

  1. I had a great time doing this dissection with you, Serena! We did learn about the body systems and were able to put actual organs and arteries to our brain instead of the pictures we have been given. This was also one of my first dissections, so to be able to work on an animal that can relate to our body system was awesome!

  2. Cutting a pig open sounds both interesting and disgusting…. I liked the summary, it let me understand what you guys were doing in class!

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