Thursday, October 9, 2008
Minks and Muscles
Dissecting has never been my first love. My first experience back in 8th grade of slicing and diceing a frog saturated in fowl smelling "apple juice looking stuff" convinced me I never wanted to do anything like that ever again! Little did I know...I'm glad I couldn't see the many well-preserved dead animals that awaited me in the future. In the years that have passed since then I have had the privilege of dissecting sheep kidneys, cow eyes, fetal pigs and many other parts of dead animals. Thankfully it has gotten a little easier for me to stomach.
For those who don't know I work as a Teacher's Assistant in an A&P I Lab. It is a very fun job! I never tire of answering question (or telling them I don't have a clue :) and seeing the look of recognition on their face when they finally understand. Well, in this past week's Lab the students were learning about muscles. Enter the Minks. Because of recent protests against the use of cats for dissecting purposes minks have become the replacement. Lucky kitties...poor minks.
The students main task was to find and label muscles on the minks. No easy task I'll assure you. As I circulated among the groups of poor "gross-out" students I learned a few things. First I discovered that mink muscle are very different from human muscle - big shocker I know. Second I learned that it doesn't take much to break a minks legs. While attempting to spread one minks arms apart in order to make dissecting his pectoralis major muscle a bit easier his little arm went "SNAP"! This is when I discovered something else - the sound of breaking bones really freaks students out! Although I apologized profusely I still think they were scarred for life, poor people.
Over-all, it was a good experience and everyone gained something. I have a greater appreciation for a minks muscle structure and the students have some fun A&P horror stories to tell.