By Sydney Snyder
As you walk down the main science hallway, you may have noticed a very strong and potent smell. That smell is called formaldehyde, which is used in embalming to disinfect and temporarily preserve human and animal remains. The formaldehyde comes from the anatomy and physiology room. Two weeks ago, students in teacher Trina Veerkamp’s anatomy classes dissected sheep and deer hearts that were preserved with formaldehyde.
“It was cool to actually be able to see what kept the deer alive and what made it a living and breathing thing,” junior Olivia Brooks said.
This nine weeks, students were studying the cardiovascular system. Since the heart is the major organ of the cardiovascular system, it is important for the students in anatomy to know how the sheep and deer hearts are similar to ours. By doing the heart dissection, students like Brooks could imagine how blood would have passed through each part of the heart if the deer was still alive.
“The deer heart freaked me out because there was a lot of blood, and the deer heart was also double the size of the sheep heart,” junior Kaila Roach said.
Only a handful of students from each of the anatomy classes were chosen to dissect deer hearts, instead of sheep hearts. Deer hearts were donated by teachers throughout the building that hunt for sport. Students came up one at a time and randomly selected a number out of a bucket. If their number had a pink heart on it, then that student and their partner got to dissect a deer heart.
Roach and her partner were chosen to dissect a deer heart. “The deer heart had a ton of blood on it, while the sheep heart did not have any blood on it,” Roach said, “Both the deer hearts and the sheep hearts smelled really bad.”
Most of the students in anatomy and physiology agreed that the smell was unpleasant.
“The sheep heart stinks, but it was very fascinating and interesting,” junior Jenny Geng said.
The final test of the cardiovascular system unit was Tuesday and yesterday. The next unit will not include physical animal hearts, but students will begin studying the respiratory system.