Fetal Pig (Wilbur) Lab

**Be forewarned, this post contains graphic images of the dissected fetal pig**



IMG_4106In the fetal pig lab, we had the opportunity to interactively work with our pig Wilbur to learn more about the major body systems in mammals. We examined many characteristics of the pig, and observed how they were similar to the characteristics other mammals. Similarly to third trimester babies in the womb, unborn pigs have an umbilical cord, mostly developed internal organs, small amounts of hair, and fully developed feet and skin.





IMG_4124We examined the digestive system, which holds the organs within the digestive tract and the digestive glands. Once food is swallowed, the food moves from the mouth into the esophagus, to the stomach and then into the small intestine. Food is then digested using bile, which is a digestive juice that is made by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile flows into the bile duct, where digestive enzymes from the pancreas also flow towards. The bile and pancreatic enzymes then flow into the small intestine, where most digestion and food absorption is located. Food items that cannot be digested move through the large intestine and through the anus, where matter is excreted from the body.






IMG_4125 When air enters the lungs, the diaphragm contracts to expand the thoracic cavity. When the diaphragm relaxes, air is expelled out of the lungs because the diaphragm is moved upwards. Mammals have two blood receiving chambers, which are more efficient than one blood receiving chamber because the chambers all the separation of the oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. The left and right ventricles of the heart are separated so that the pulmonary and systemic circulations are independent of each other. Oxygenated blood is transported from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart before it is passed to the left ventricle. Here, blood flows through the aorta to the systemic circulation. Deoxygenated blood from the tissues is transported to the right atrium through the vena cava vein, and is then pumped into the pulmonary capillary bed through the pulmonary artery.






IMG_4112Carly, Nicole and I had an excellent time working with Wilbur because he gave us a more visual perspective on the body system’s functions, and how they are all connected to each other. RIP ❤



  1. Excellent information, Lauren! Your post is a great review of structure and function 🙂

  2. bonnieeescottl

    And I never heard you mention the word “gross” even once! Hope you enjoyed the process. Nice descriptions.

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