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  • Rohin

The pengest science

Explanted cow heart with septal transection

I got through to the London regional final of a science communication competition called FameLab. I didn't make the national final (feedback was that I had too much comedy, not enough science - a bit like my PhD really) but it was a lot of fun. I used a couple of props for my talk, namely a 2.5kg cow heart and a 1g mouse heart so I thought I'd stick a few pictures up. Sadly I didn't take any pictures of the mouse heart but I can find plenty more of those in the lab, so I'll get some more dinky heart pics up soon.

These pictures were taken in my kitchen and the chopping board has a centimeter scale at the bottom so you can see this heart is much bigger than a human heart. In fact it's about 6 times the weight of an average male human heart.

cow heart epicardium left anterior descending

Here you can see the left anterior descending artery

chordae tendineae and papillary muscles

You're tugging at my heart strings! The chordae tendineae are tough structures that attach the mitral valve leaflets to the papillary muscles, which you can also see. The sub-valvular apparatus makes sure the mitral valve doesn't leak when the powerful left ventricle contracts.

moderator band

This muscular structure is called the moderator band and it only exists in the right ventricle. It was first described by a guy you'll already have met on this website, my all-time hero Leonardo da Vinci.

cow aorta

This is the aorta - the main blood vessel leaving the heart. I've stuck my fingers through to show how big it is. It humans it's usually about 3cm across at this point but in a cow it's more like 5 or 6cm.

I know, you've read this far and there's no explanation for why it's in a KFC bargain bucket. Well, I've got no reason for you. It just seemed to make sense.

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