Things to dissect and see: longus colli dorsalis

September 15, 2011

Okay, special dissection post, coming to you live from the Symposium¬† of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy in Lyme Regis, on the Jurassic coast of England, well past my bedtime. First, check out this comment from Neil and see the linked image of some neck muscles in the anhinga. Here’s a small version I’m swiping. There are a couple of short, single-segment muscles shown, but the big long ones in this image are longus colli ventralis (on the ‘front’ or ‘bottom’ of the neck) and longus colli dorsalis (on the ‘back’ or ‘top’).

Now, grok these photos of the same dorsal muscle. Or muscle group, if you prefer. Note that in all cases shown here and in the link–anhinga, rhea, and turkey–the muscle inserts on the anterior cervical vertebrae, and not on the skull.

In Rhea:

In Meleagris (turkey):

The rhea was dissected by Vanessa back at Western a couple of weeks ago, the turkey by me on Mike’s dining room table on Monday. Full story to follow…at some point.

In the meantime, go buy your own turkey and cut up its neck. It’s cheap and you’ll learn a ton.

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4 Responses to “Things to dissect and see: longus colli dorsalis”

  1. ScottH Says:

    Very nice dissection. I miss doing those.

  2. Matt Wedel Says:

    Thanks for the kind words.

    One of the points of this post, and several upcoming posts, is that no one needs to miss doing dissections. Almost all of the awesome stuff I’ve shown in the rhea neck is also visible in a turkey neck, and I reckon just about everyone has access to one of those, or will soon with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming. If you’re lucky enough to live near a butcher or carniceria, you can often get the neck without buying the whole turkey.

    Of course all of this stuff is in chickens, too, and they’re even more widely available, but they’re so small that it’s sometimes hard to make things out. Turkeys hit a sweet spot between size and availability.

    Stay tuned for more cool turkey pictures soon.

  3. Scott H Says:

    I agree with everything you wrote – but I’ve already dissected several turkeys, an ostrich neck, and a rhea neck. Alas, I didn’t document it as well photographically at the time (some of them were 15 years ago, before the age of DSLRs).

    Not that I wouldn’t do more, but I don’t have an immediate need to do another turkey. So I’m just nostalgic for the time period when I had lots of animals to put under the dissecting knife.

    Still, this is an excellent series, and more people should definitely do dissections.


  4. [...] of the fanned-out longus colli dorsalis muscles in a turkey neck was the raison d’etre for this post, and turned up again with different muscles labeled in one of the recent Apatosaurus maquette [...]


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