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.
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0


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