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A special Dissection Club session: The Adult Rat

With many girls having already participated in a number of the KYTOS dissections, including the heart and the brain, there was perhaps an even greater level of anticipation before beginning this extended session on the whole rat. We started by getting into small groups of two or three and getting all the necessary dissecting equipment; this included putting on lab coats, goggles and gloves to ensure maximum safety. In our small groups we then received a KYTOS dissection guide and a well preserved, complete rat. We began by pinning back the legs of the rat and identifying the sex, the vibrissa (whiskers) and the piperaceae (ears) before we made any incisions. To start we cut away the first layer of skin, cutting through the connective tissue, before then made a further incision until we were able to cut away the first muscular layer as well. We were then able to identify the small and large intestine, the kidneys, stomach and the particularly interesting liver - which was larger than any of us had imagined. Our next instructions were to try and unravel the long and complicated small intestine whilst not only keeping it attached to the body but also keeping the length of the intestine intact. We were then able to remove and dissect the kidneys individually and identify the urinal and reproductive systems of the rat. We then made further incisions towards the head of the rat exposing the lungs, the heart and the diaphragm. It was then optional to try and expose the bones of the rats' legs; however, this proved to be difficult to remove the flesh and muscle to expose only the delicate tibia and fibula. This was such an incredible opportunity and was absolutely fascinating to learn about the intricate body systems of the rat.

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