Adventures in Ethics and Science

Early this month, my better half got something for the Free-Ride offspring that is somewhere in the realm of “this will be edifying, but maybe they’ll find it cool, and if they don’t then at least the grown-ups will have fun playing with it”.

So far, it has been all of the above.

It’s a human anatomy model (not life-size, thanks), and here’s the state I found it in this morning:

i-08eb3b29371b3847ddc34638371f7999-OrganSling2.jpg

Obviously, this isn’t going to stifle my children’s creativity.

i-dda058b48f42e9aa65b524f58b34eb34-OrganHead.jpg

The sprogs appreciate that you can “break it down,” as it were, to see how brain rests in skull and how neck connects to torso.

i-502653af01b5ab46d365e5c56f96084b-OrganCavity.jpg

They also like how you can clear out all the (removable) organs from the torso and approach the task of placing them as a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. It’s true that not all the organs are set up to come out (most notably the kidneys), and that others are “bundled” together rather than individually separable. Still, you can isolate some of the biggies.

i-d386ed6abfe5ba73daebe409066d26ca-OrganHeart.jpg

You can place the heart and note the major arteries and veins it “plugs into” when it’s in its canonical location. You can examine how the lungs nestle near the heart, how the stomach “plugs into” the small intestine, and that there’s an order of operations for putting the organs in place of you’re serious about fitting the liver back into the torso. The sprogs are a little sad that the small intestine and long intestine can’t be separated, and that the small intestine can’t be uncoiled to verify whatever hyperbolic claim is on the table about their length.

i-bc29eca2baed9f68ad5f812920d52451-OrganSling1.jpg

And sometimes, as we’ve seen, they decide that the usual placement of internal organs (i.e., primarily internally) is for boring old fuddy-duddies.

Still, they’ve gotten quite good at disassembling and reassembling the model quickly. (I’m wondering if there’s an army in which this would be a useful skill — other than an army of the undead.)

i-e9cc38016d411d27dca2e729c2ca9ef6-OrgansAssembled.jpg

The model actually came with canonical male sex organs and canonical female sex organs, and it permits of mixing and matching. This has started a conversation about the fascinating biology of intersex.

And, even when you think the sprogs have assembled a textbook male torso, sometimes lifting the intestines reveals a surprise:

i-428913d5918cc7bbb803f5f3235e61c2-OrganSurprise.jpg

The baby was not included with the model.

Neither of the sprogs feels a strong commitment to pursue a medical career on account of this model (even though we explained that most physicians don’t spend a lot of time opening abdomens and removing all the organs). But they seem happy enough to be building a more three-dimensional sense of where their organs are.

Comments

  1. #1 Don Monroe
    January 22, 2010

    The first picture reminds me of John Edwards somehow.

  2. #2 becca
    January 22, 2010

    “(I’m wondering if there’s an army in which this would be a useful skill — other than an army of the undead.)”
    I’m glad the sprogs are prepared for the Real zombie apocalypse. As something more than coffee bean crushers.

    I, for one, welcome our new Glorious Generals of the Zombie Army Overlords.

  3. #3 momkat
    January 23, 2010

    Perhaps they will be famous in years to come as they crack the ‘men having babies’ problem they seem to be considering.

  4. #4 llewelly
    January 23, 2010

    The brain in the first picture is too far forward. It should be farther back and a bit lower down.

  5. #5 EJ
    January 25, 2010

    Ouch – split penis & testicles…

New comments have been disabled.