Dr. Ray L. Winstead
Professor of Biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Pig Lab: Very Brief Survey
of Selected Anatomical Structures and their Functions

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Abdominal Cavity - the lower body cavity below the diaphragm containing such organs as the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, large and small intestines, and reproductive organs.

Adrenal Gland - an endocrine gland that secretes hormones that function in water regulation, regulation of metabolism, salt balance, and in the stress response.

Aortic Artery (Aorta) - a large blood vessel with muscular, elastic walls that is connected directly to the heart and conducts blood AWAY from the heart TO the rest of the body (excluding the lungs).

Artery - a blood vessel with muscular, elastic walls that conducts blood AWAY from the heart.

Atrium - a chamber of the heart that receives venous blood and passes it to a ventricle.

Colon - the longest part of the large intestine, exclusive of the rectum.

Diaphragm - in the respiratory system, a dome-shaped muscle forming the floor of the chest cavity that, when it contracts, pulls itself downward, enlarging the chest cavity and causing air to be drawn into the lungs.

Duodenum - the top portion of the small intestine leaving the stomach.Most of the digestion that occurs in the digestive system occurs in the duodenum.

Endocrine Gland - an animalís organ system for cell-to-cell communication, composed of hormones and the cells that secrete them and receive them.

Esophagus - a muscular passageway that conducts food from the pharynx to the stomach.

Gallbladder - a small sac, next to the liver, in which the bile secreted by the liver is stored and concentrated.Bile is released from the gallbladder to the small intestine through the bile duct.

Heart - a muscular organ responsible for pumping blood within the circulatory system throughout the body.

Kidneys - a pair of organs of the excretory system that are located on either side of the abdominal cavity and filter blood, removing wastes and regulating the composition and water content of the blood.

Large Intestine - the final section of the digestive tract; consists of the colon and the rectum, where feces are formed and stored.

Larynx - that portion of the air passage between the pharynx and the trachea; contains the vocal cords.

Liver - an organ with varied functions, including bile production, glycogen storage (glucose molecules bonded together), and the detoxification of poisons.

Lungs - paired respiratory organ consisting of inflatable chambers within the chest cavity in which gas exchange occurs.

Ovary - female reproductive organ that produces egg cells and sex hormones.

Oviduct - the tube leading from the ovary to the uterus.

Pancreas - a combined exocrine and endocrine gland located in the abdominal cavity next to the stomach.The endocrine portion secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon, which regulate glucose concentrations in the blood.The exocrine portion secretes enzymes for fat, carbohydrate, and protein digestion into the small intestine and also neutralizes the acidic material coming from the stomach into the small intestine.

Pericardium - the membranous sac enclosing the heart.

Pharynx - a chamber that is located at the back of the throat and is shared by the digestive and respiratory systems.

Pulmonary Artery - a blood vessel that conducts blood AWAY from the heart TO the lungs.

Pyloric Sphincter - a circular muscle, located at the base of the stomach, that regulates the passage of material into the small intestine.

Rectum - the terminal portion of the digestive tube, where feces are stored until they can be eliminated.

Small Intestine - the portion of the digestive tract, located between the stomach and large intestine, in which most digestion and absorption of nutrients occur.

Spleen - an organ where lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell important in the immune response) are produced and foreign particles and aged red blood cells are removed from the blood.

Stomach - the muscular sac between the esophagus and small intestine where food is stored and mechanically broken down and in which protein digestion begins.

Testis - male reproductive organ that produces sperm cells and sex hormones.

Thoracic Cavity - the chest cavity above the diaphragm containing the heart and lungs.

Thymus Gland - an organ of the lymphatic system that is located in the upper chest in front of the heart and that secretes thymosin, which stimulates lymphocyte maturation; begins to degenerate at puberty and has little function in the adult.

Thyroid Gland - an endocrine gland, located in front of the larynx in the neck, that secretes the hormones thyroxine (affecting metabolic rate) and calcitonin (regulating calcium ion concentration in the blood).

Trachea - a rigid but flexible tube, supported by rings of cartilage, that conducts air between the larynx and the bronchi (the tubes that conduct air from the trachea to the lungs).

Umbilical Artery - an artery that is a part of the umbilical cord (and in the fetal pig two umbilical arteries are on either side of the urinary bladder.)

Urinary Bladder - a hollow, muscular chamber that collects and stores the urine produced by the kidneys.

Uterus - in females, the part of the reproductive system where the embryo develops during pregnancy.

Vein - a large-diameter, thin-walled blood vessel that carries blood BACK to the heart.

Vena Cava - a large vein carrying blood from the body directly into the right atrium of the heart.

Ventricle - the lower muscular chamber on each side of the heart, which pumps blood out through the arteries.The right ventricle sends blood to the lungs; the left ventricle pumps blood to the rest of the body.





(definitions collated and adapted by Dr. R. Winstead for his General Biology fetal pig anatomy lab from Biology: Life on Earth, Fifth Edition 1999 by T. Audesirk and G. Audesirk)

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Dr. Ray L. Winstead
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