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Vertebrate Anatomy Labs
The Fetal Pig and You
WEEK #1: Vertebrate Anatomy I: Skin
and Digestive Systems
• Review descriptions and illustrations of tissues from lab manual
• Observe prepared slide of skin
• Fetal Pig Dissection
– *External anatomy
– *Follow dissection instructions sequentially as detailed in lab manual
– *Do not cut out a section of intestine (procedure 21.2 part J)
• Observe prepared slide of intestine cross-section
External anatomy
Male or Female?
Opening the oral cavity
2. To expose structures in the
mouth cavity, use heavy, sharppointed scissors to cut at the
corners of the mouth along the line
of the tongue.
Continue to cut until the lower jaw
can be lowered, being careful not
to cut into the tissues in the roof of
the mouth cavity.
Continue to cut, pulling down on
the lower jaw until your cuts reach
the muscle and tissue at the back
of the mouth.
Cut through this muscle until
lowering the jaw exposes the back
of the mouth cavity.
Incisions to open the abdominal cavity.
Incision 1 makes a shallow midventral
incision from the base of the throat to
the umbilical cord.
Incision 2 cuts around the umbilical cord
to the medial surface of each leg.
Incision 3 cuts through the body wall
laterally just posterior to the
Incision 4 cuts laterally at the posterior
margin of the abdominal cavity.
Expose the digestive organs in the abdominal region by
opening the posterior portion of the abdominal cavity.
• Begin the dissection by using the scalpel to make a shallow midventral
incision from the base of the throat to the umbilical cord (incision 1).
• Cut lateral incisions (incision 2) around each side of the umbilical cord and
continue the two incisions, one to the medial surface of each leg
• Now use the scissors to cut deep into one of the lateral incisions beside
the cord until you penetrate into the abdominal cavity, piercing the parietal
peritoneum. Use the scissors to cut through the body wall along the two
lateral incisions to the legs and around the umbilical cord.
• Pull lightly on the umbilical cord. If your dissection is correct, you will see
that the umbilical cord and ventral wedge of body wall could be reflected, or
pulled back, toward the tail, except for a blood vessel, the umbilical vein. This
vein passes from the umbilical cord anteriorly
toward a large brown organ, the liver.
• Cut through this vein, leaving a stub at each end. Tie a small piece of string
around each stub so you can find them later. This should free the flap of body
wall, which may now be reflected toward the tail, exposing the abdominal
Small intestine
Week Two
The Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
• Begin the dissection by opening the thoracic cavity, which houses
the heart and lungs, and making an incision that extends to the jaw.
• Use scissors to deepen the superficial incision previously made
anterior to the abdominal cavity, and continue deepening this incision
to the base of the lower jaw.
• Cut through the body wall in the region of the thorax, clipping
through the ribs slightly to the right or left of the sternum (the flat
bone lying midventrally to which ribs attach).
• Continue the incision past the rib cage to the base of the lower jaw.
• Using the blunt probe to separate tissues, carefully remove the skin
and muscles in the neck region. You will expose the thymus gland on
each side of the neck .
Neck region and Thoracic Cavity
• Expose the heart lying in the pericardial
cavity between the two pleural cavities.
• Gently push open the rib cage, using
scissors and a probe to cut through
muscle and connective tissue. Another
lobe of the thymus gland will be seen
lying over the pericardial sac housing the
heart. The wall of the pericardial sac is a
tough membrane composed of two
fused coelomic epithelial linings, the
parietal pericardium and the parietal
• Cut into and push aside the pericardial
sac. Carefully dissect away membranes
adhering to the heart until you can
identify the four chambers of the heart
Neck region and Thoracic Cavity
artery and
Week Three
Excretory, Reproductive, and Nervous systems