Things to Make and Do, Part 11: what half a gator looks like

January 24, 2013

Hemisected gator

Okay, before some wag makes this point, the gator is missing a good chunk of its tail, so this is more like the left half of the anterior two-thirds of a gator. But that would make a lousy title.

We might have more to say about this in the future, but for now, I’m going to let this 1000-word-equivalent speak for itself.

Many thanks to Elizabeth Rega for the use of the gator.

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13 Responses to “Things to Make and Do, Part 11: what half a gator looks like”

  1. Vertebrat Says:

    Yes, but what does it smell like?

    …wow, the tongue is big. And the heart; I’m always surprised by how large hearts are. Not much intestine because it’s a carnivore. Is the pink thing dorsal to the intestine a kidney? And the dark bit just caudal to the heart is part of the liver? What’s the greenish area between that and the stomach?

    Also, is that ventral pneumatic-looking cavity really a cavity or just a gap where tissues have pulled apart?

  2. Matt Wedel Says:

    Is the pink thing dorsal to the intestine a kidney? And the dark bit just caudal to the heart is part of the liver?

    Yes and yes. :-)

    What’s the greenish area between that and the stomach?

    Gall bladder, I reckon, or maybe just the pancreas stained with bile.

    Also, is that ventral pneumatic-looking cavity really a cavity or just a gap where tissues have pulled apart?

    The latter. Alligator lungs wrap around the heart dorsally and laterally, but not ventrally. And that cavity goes all the way back under the stomach, definitely out of lung territory. And it is spanned all along its length by little threads and sheets of fascia that look to me like what you get when internal tissues pull apart. In this case, the sternum and ventral body wall muscles have pulled away from the viscera and diaphragmaticus muscle. I’m pretty sure the muscular sheet closest to the stomach is the diaphragmaticus (and yes, I’m being poncy and calling it the diaphragmaticus because it’s not homologous with the mammalian diaphragm).

  3. brian engh Says:

    alas, i knew him well…

  4. Heteromeles Says:

    NIce slice. Now, are we supposed to make sliced alligators, or do sliced alligators….?

    The slightly more interesting question is how much asymmetry is revealed in this cut. This isn’t a criticism, just thinking about the minor issue of animal asymmetry.

  5. Matt Wedel Says:

    The slightly more interesting question is how much asymmetry is revealed in this cut. This isn’t a criticism, just thinking about the minor issue of animal asymmetry.

    There is asymmetry in the cut, but I don’t think it’s inherent asymmetry in the animal as much as (1) the animal being not-quite-perfectly-straight when frozen, and (2) the band saw making a not-quite-perfectly-midline cut.

    Actually the inherent asymmetry of animals is something I’m very interested in, especially as it relates to handedness. Crocodilians apparently have a preference in doing sideways head strikes to one side or the other, and in old, long-snouted animals this is sometimes visible as a deviation of the snout to one side–or so I’ve read. If anyone can confirm or deny, I’d be grateful.

    And of course there is the rampant asymmetry in pneumatic features, which we have not blogged about nearly enough. Maybe that could be a new post series.

  6. Vertebrat Says:

    OK, I looked up the diaphragmaticus, and I still can’t find it.

  7. Dean Says:

    Look at all that intervertebral cartilage!

  8. Matt Wedel Says:

    OK, I looked up the diaphragmaticus, and I still can’t find it.

    Sorry, I wasn’t very clear earlier–I said ‘below’ the stomach when I meant ‘ventral to’, but that could easily be taken as ‘posterior to’ in this image, especially since most drawings of the diaphragmaticus show it poster to the stomach–as indeed it is for much of its course; it’s just easier to see it ventrally here.

    Ventral to the stomach (to the right in the image as it appears here) you can see two sheets of tissue: the muscular body wall, and something else in between the stomach and body wall. That ‘something else’ runs up to the liver, and it’s pretty clearly a sheet of muscle–that’s the diaphragmaticus.

    I probably will get around to posting a labelled version of this image at some point, but not today–today I have 3D visualizations to generate!

    Look at all that intervertebral cartilage!

    Yeah–isn’t that interesting? :-)

  9. Vertebrat Says:

    Ohhh, it goes to the liver (or to the fascia around it; I suppose pulling directly on the fragile liver would be a bad idea).

    Also, the neck is lying!

  10. John Scanlon, FCD Says:

    I think I saw the knitted version at Etsy

  11. Matt Wedel Says:

    Also, the neck is lying!

    Yup! :-)

    I think I saw the knitted version at Etsy

    Yeah, me too, but inadvertently and unwillingly. I was doing an image search on alligator dissection to see what else was out there, and stumbled into a whole nest of knitted dissected critters. I suppose I should be happy, that animal dissection is mainstream enough–or that the long tail of people interested in it are numerous enough–to support such things. But as someone who likes to cut, the knitted versions leave me cold. It’s like a knitted pizza–sure, it looks like a pizza, but all it makes me want to do is go get a real pizza.


  12. [...] the recent theme. We’re not giving this a “Things to Make and Do” header because the spirit of [...]


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