Part 1 – External Anatomy

  • Identify and record the 4 main body segments
  • Examine the head of your pig
  • Note the eyes. Each eye is protected by three eyelids! The third eyelid is the nictitating membrane – a small mass of tissue in the corner of each eye.

Part 2 – Internal Anatomy

  • Be careful when dissecting your fetal pig.
  • Only remove organs that you are asked to remove. Make superficial incisions before cutting deeper.

Dissection set up

  • Using a piece of string, tie one of the pigs ankles.
  • Place the pig ventral side up on the dissection tray.
  • Bring the string under the dissection tray and tie the opposite wrist.
  • Repeat for the other wrist and ankle to expose the ventral surface.


  • Using either a scalpel or dissection scissors, make incision
  • Be careful. Do not cut very deep. It is better to begin with shallow incisions.
  • Cut from the umbilical chord to the head
  • Using your scalpel, make incisions
  • Begin at the umbilical chord and cut toward the posterior end of the fetal pig on either side of the chord.
  • Using dissection scissors, make incision across the collar of the pig.
  • Find where incision ends along the posterior end of your pig. Using a scalpel, make incision down each hind leg.
  • Locate the rib cage of your pig. The final incision will go directly below the ribs. Use dissection scissors to cut along the ribcage.
  • Be very careful so you do not damage any of the internal organs.

Exposing the Internal Organs

  • Begin folding back the flaps of skin at incision
  • Pin down the flaps to expose the internal organs.
  • Note the layer of connective tissue holding the abdominal organs in place.
  • This tissue is called peritoneum.
  • Carefully remove the peritoneum to expose the internal organs.
  • Fold back the posterior flap made by incisions. Pin it down.

Organ Identification for the Abdominal Cavity

  • The liver will be brown or dull red
  • It will be found at the anterior end of the abdominal cavity, right below the ribs.
  • Look for the gall bladder, it will be right below the liver.
  • Find the duct connecting the gall bladder and the gall bladder.
  • Identify the portion of the Small Intestines that the duct connects to.
  • Next, identify the stomach. The stomach will be partially covered by the liver.
  • Locate where the stomach connects to the esophagus.
  • Using dissection scissors, cut the esophagus just above the stomach.
  • Repeat this for where the stomach joins the duodenum.
  • Now, use your dissection scissors to open the stomach.
  • Record what you see inside the stomach.
  • Our next organ of interest is the pancreas. The pancreas will be found below the stomach.
  • It will be resting against the back wall of the abdominal cavity.
  • The spleen will be found near the pancreas, along the left abdominal wall.
  • Lastly, identify the small and large intestines. Take hold of the duodenum.
  • Slowly pull the duodenum. The small intestines are lined in a membrane called the mesentery.
  • Continue to pull out the Small Intestine until it is fully unraveled.
  • Measure the length of the Small Intestine.

Organ Identification for the Thoracic Cavity

  • If you have not already pinned back the thoracic cavity flaps, do so now.
  • You may need to use the surgical scissors to cut through the sternum
  • Locate the heart. The heart is found just left of the center of the thoracic cavity.
  • Use the forceps to remove the pericardium membrane from the heart.
  • You will now begin removing the heart
  • Use your blunt probe to locate the right atrium.
  • Using your scissors, separate the atrium from the superior and inferior vena cavae
  • Next, locate the left atrium with your blunt probe.
  • Again, use your scissors to separate the heart from any connecting vessels.
  • Separate the aorta from the left ventricle.
  • Separate the pulmonary trunk from the right ventricle.
  • Carefully remove the heart from the thoracic cavity.

Dissection of the Heart

  • Make a small incision separating the left and right sides of the heart.
  • Make a cut through the wall of one of the ventricles.

The Lungs

  • Locate the lungs within the thoracic cavity.
  • Run you finger over the trachea and the lungs.


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