I really enjoyed our class on Friday when we dissected pig brains, which closely resemble human ones. I am glad I was careful enough not to ruin the specimen. Many major structures were revealed in astonishing detail. For example, the corpus callosum could be seen from the top and is clearly distinguished from near by structures, mainly the cerebral cortex. Next, the cerebellum lives up to its literal name as a little brain. It appears rather complex with a lot of white matter branching like roots of a tree. That explains why coordinated sequential movement, such as walking and running, could be carried out with almost no thinking from our consciousness. I am certain roboticists and computer scientists can borrow algorithms from the cerebellum in their robot-building projects. I also uncovered the hippocampus and the amygdala on one hemisphere of the brain. These structures may seem elusive during a dissection but once they are revealed, I felt convinced that I have found them. It is amazing to see that even though the hippocampus is a relatively small structure of the brain, it stores an incredible amount of information. If one (an adult or older) is asked to write down everything one knows, it could fill a rather thick encyclopedia.
The only thing I did not enjoy during the dissection was that I could not identify the structures of the brain stem, namely the Pons, medulla and reticular activating formation. All of them were incorporated within a thin sheet of white matter sticking out from the thalamus. I felt a bit guilty when we had to dispose of the brains.
It was a shame I did not bring my camera. My amateur photography skills could have been put to good use. 😦