Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rhealize, foo'!

Today we started dissecting a rhea. As you can see, the appearance of a big dead bird brings anticipation and joy to all. Left to right: Sarah Werning, Ashley Lipps, Drew Lee, and Jackie Moustakas.

One of the great things about dissecting a ratite is that there are lots of jobs. It's a good group activity.

From left to right by cranium position: Simon Sponberg, in from the Full lab to observe; Ryan Carney, Mastema frontman, anarchist, and agent of the state, who provided the bird; Padianites Katie Brakora, Drew, Sarah, Jackie, and yours truly.

Present but not pictured are Padianite Brian Swartz and interested undergrad Sally Pine, who were photographing the event (many thanks to Sally for taking these photos, in fact).

The bird came to us with no head. I squeezed the neck like a toothpaste tube to try to get out any gross fluid before I skinned it. I was thinking blood. I had forgotten about the esophagus, and what actually came out was a thin unpleasant light tan gruel that smelled like slightly rotten stomach contents, which I'm sure it was. It continued to plague us throughout the afternoon.

TONS more to say about this bird and the fun we had tearing it down, already, and we've got a whole 'nuther afternoon of dissecting lined up for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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Blogger Darren Naish said...

That reminds me, must go cook dinner. We're having ravioli.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Horrible! Why do you do this? It looks like you're just having "fun". Is there any reason, or is it for "science"? Why? Please do explain, I'm not trying to be snooty, I just want to know why you could deface an innocent animal like that.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Dr. Vector said...

The innocent animal had already died of natural causes. We were "defacing" it so we could learn stuff. Measurements we took that day have already been used in a couple of projects, and more are in the works. You know, science, the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of humankind, learning about the natural world so we can take better care of it. Any of this ringing a bell?

Not that it matters, but everyone who was in on that dissection was pursuing a degree in biology and we're all ardently pro-conservation. And we have more to back that up than a bumper sticker.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go deface the night sky with my telescope.

7:50 PM  

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