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Delving deep into the mind of a sheep - literally!

On Friday, 19th March, students were invited to come and see a sheep head dissection. This was a collaborative project between KYTOS and the Tormead Beacon Programme. Mr Isaacs began by giving an overview of the dental features of the sheep. We learnt that the sheep had teeth designed to chew in a sideways motion evidenced by the flatter molars which is useful when needing to grind grass and other tougher foods in order to start the digestion process. After this quick introduction and covering other aspects of the face, we moved to the inside of the head and started looking at the brain and internal features. We looked at the sinuses and the lining of the sinuses. We moved onto the brain and learnt about its' anatomical features; there was the arbor vitae, commonly known as the tree of life where the white and grey matter can be seen. Grey matter is the part of the brain where the neurones and cell bodies are found and where you will find all the synapses, making it a vital part of the brain which processes information and transmitting signals. The white matter is the part of the brain where the parts of grey matter are connected. We moved on to look at other parts of the brain such as the medulla oblongata which controls autonomic responses like our breathing and the function of our heart.

We learnt the meninges (the lining of brain) can become swollen either by bacteria or viruses and causes disease, meningitis. We also learnt about a more common disease which comes around more often than we like every winter; the dreaded sinusitis. Sinusitis is the inflammation of the lining of the sinus which causes the build up of mucus and trap air giving the person (or sheep) a bunged up feeling. The experience was invaluable and proved useful for everyone studying biology and those hoping to go to study biology related subjects at university. It was engaging and was definitely a crowd pleaser. Roll on the next KYTOS and Beacon session!

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