Pig dissections help Anatomy students learn more about the human body


Mckenzie Lookebill, Writer

Students sit at their desks with their computers while Anatomy teacher, Lisa Stewart, slices into a fetal pig. As the class watches, Stewart makes incisions, they become intrigued at the sight of the lungs and other important arteries of the pig. For more than 20 years, fetal pig dissections have taken place in Room 1-118.

“This year we bought 24 fetal pigs total for all my anatomy classes combined,” Stewart said. “I divide the students up three to a pig. I chose pigs because they are cheaper as opposed to cats. The muscles are a little bit easier to dissect in cat, but in the end the muscles are the same as a human muscles. It gives the students a visual to learning muscles.”

Although some students may find it difficult to cut into an animal, a majority of students in Anatomy find the dissection helpful because it is another example of what they are learning in the textbook.

“The pig helps us learn how certain arteries work inside a living organism,” junior Drew Miller said. “We have been studying hearts and lungs and many other important body systems in class. So by dissecting a pig we can physically see how the systems work together. It is easier to see it in person, rather than on paper.”

As opposed to learning about body through a diagram or taking notes, the students have the opportunity to learn something a different way, while still having an educational purpose.

“The students have to come up to the main table, or I will come to their tables and they have to show me what they learned,“ said Stewart. “They will have to, for example, inflate the heart, or properly cut it in half and identify the parts of the heart. It is more of a one-on-one assessment with the organism, not a paper/pencil test. It is a more accurate test of whether they actually learned it or not”.

Some of the students who take Anatomy want to pursue a medical degree in college.

“I am planning on doing something in the medical field,” senior Shane Kolinski said. “This class is preparing me for later classes that I will take to help me prepare to be an athletic trainer by seeing something on the inside of a body. It is very interesting to see how the muscles and arteries work together, and how the pig’s leg motion works. This class is fun because of dissections like this.”

Anatomy is offered to students who have taken or currently taking biology and chemistry and are interested in a science class features learning the systems in the human body and how they relate as a whole.