We ventured on over to the other side of campus into another building for the dissection. There were a few sharks to be dissected. Measurements of different organs and such were taken for research purposes. Two of the sharks were mature females that were pregnant! They had little babies! So we reviewed the reproductive system in sharks while we were there.
I know you want pictures. You always do. I hear you chanting. Ok, ok, here they are. Sheesh. Y'all are so demanding.
Yes, we had to take a selfie. We're adorable shark biologists! Don't judge!
Here's a blacktip mama shark with 2 of her 3 babies she had. The embryos look like a mini version of an adult, which is pretty cool.
That, my friends, is a shark heart. Just in case you ever wondered what a shark's heart looks like, there it is. It's considered a two-chambered heart, with 1 atrium and 1 ventricle. A shark's heart is different from other vertebrate hearts because theirs only pumps deoxygenated blood.
Here's all three of the babies that were in the blacktip mama's belly. You can see that the embryos all have these string-like projections on the bottom of them. Those are yolk stalks that attach to a yolk sac. These yolk sacs provide nutrition to the cute little baby sharks while developing. So cute. Slimy. But cute.
This picture is a total long shot. Ok, you may or may not be able to see 2 little tiny itsy-bitsy holes where that finger is. If you see them, congratulations! You have identified the shark's ears! Yeah, they're a bit on the small side. They are attached to canals that lead right into the inner ear. They don't really "hear" per say; they can just sense vibrations and stuff with these things.
This was a cool picture of the embryos in the uterus before we took them out to measure them. It looks pretty packed in there.
You can see the yolk stalk really well in this one! What a cutie!
We enjoyed the dissection. (Even though the smell was a tad overwhelming.)
This, my friends, is the ovary of a mature female. This ovary has these egg-like structures in them. They are actually eggs ready to be released and fertilized. They look like sunny side up eggs. Yum.
We had fun. It was really cool to apply what we had learned in class. And some classmates even got to take home some shark babies to preserve on their own and keep forever and ever! No, I didn't take one. I didn't want to fool with it. Plus, it would look kind of morbid to bring home a shark embryo as a souvenir. Kind of weird if you ask me.
Boat trip tomorrow. Last one of the semester. Of the class. Of my summer! Ugh, I'm happy and sad. Hopefully I don't get sick...we'll see how that one goes. The current score, 2-0. The ocean is winning and Claire is losing miserably. I'll be a total geek and wear my anti-sea sick wristbands tomorrow. Yes, I have resorted to that level.