Monthly Picture: Laboratory Study of the Crayfish

My father obviously devoted considerable time to drawing the gills on this critter in his Sophomore Biology Notebook:

Laboratory Study of the Crayfish
Laboratory Study of the Crayfish

The stomach and nervous system seem sufficiently stylized that they’re not drawn from a specimen; I’m pretty sure a real crayfish doesn’t come apart quite so neatly.

Our Larval Engineer reports that the lab sessions for her second quarter of Anatomy and Physiology will involve dissecting sheep hearts and eyeballs (which arrive in plastic buckets festooned with hazmat stickers for the preservative). She regards this as more than making up for having to sit through A&P lectures and memorizing all those bones & muscles. Must be another generation-skipping trait, is all I can say…

8 thoughts on “Monthly Picture: Laboratory Study of the Crayfish

  1. I agree, dissecting out all the delicate thing filaments of the nervous system would take many attempts and several days, and it would require a great deal of knowledge to then arrange all that into a pattern that reflects the locations of the nerves in the body. It’s still a beautiful drawing, even if he cribbed some of the details from somewhere – I tend to go with the idea that drawing something yourself aids the learning process, so the effort is reasonable (even if modern education seems to dispense with a lot of this sort of thing).

    I like the part simply labelled “gland”. Probably accurate, if somewhat non-specific.

    I’m glad the larval engineer seems to enjoy the process too – I remember being squeamish about dissecting a frog when I was in school. Sure enough, the initial process was tough for me, but actually seeing the interior details as distinct organs instead of just a mush of tissues fascinated me.

    I remember the girl in front of me asking “why is this called the `green gland’, it isn’t green at all?” I explained that many such things are named after the first person to discover or describe them, so this gland was probably named after a scientist named Green. Since her name was Cathy Green, this made particular sense to her.

    1. drawing something yourself aids the learning process

      And it’s a good way to shuffle all the parts of a design into order. Even if the final widget bears no resemblance to the original sketch, I couldn’t get to the widget without that first sketch and, sometimes, a long string of sketches. If only I could draw a straight line without tracing my thumb on the ruler.

      being squeamish about dissecting a frog

      That was me, too!

      Our lass said she planned to get through A&P by drawing all the parts on a willing victim and then taking photos. Something tells me we’ll never know how that particular college project worked out… [grin]

      1. drawing all the parts on a willing victim

        That sounds like a great way to get the actual spatial relationships visually fixed in the mind. If, that is, the drawings are placed correctly in the first place!

        As for tags in comments, I like to use the <cite> tag for quoted text and the <em> tag for emphasis, as above.

        1. placed correctly

          We’ve all had experience with learning the wrong lesson very, very thoroughly. Tough to back down from that mishap.

          use the <cite> tag for quoted text

          I use the <blockquote> tag, which adds those hideous quote marks, plus indenting and italicizing (at least in this blog theme).

          There I used ampersand-semicolon escaping, but I’ve been fighting WP’s incorrect escaping in sourcecode blocks for a couple of weeks and admit to being gunshy. They finally managed to reproduce the problem, so maybe it’ll get fixed!

          For what it’s worth, quoting your escaped text turns it back into a tag, which gets eaten by the comment mechanism. This may not end well.

  2. If only I could draw a straight line

    Several years ago, one of the regular writers in one of the Village Press magazine, described the way he was taught to draw freehand straight lines:

    Plan the line; Rehearse the movement; Focus on the end point while drawing.

    It seems to work better for me than whatever I was doing for the previous 50 years.

    BTW: what are the markup rules for these comments?

    1. Focus on the end point while drawing.

      Keep the goal in mind!

      Or, I suppose, use a straightedge without having my thumb protrude over the edge…

      what are the markup rules for these comments?

      I get to embed the usual markup tags (em, strong, strikeout, blockquote) within angle brackets and I think that holds for users who aren’t the account owner. Try it out and report back; I’ll edit it to make the answer come out right and maybe we can all learn how this stuff works.

      1. This should be i (for italic)

        This should be cite

        This should be em

        This should be strong

        This should be b (for bold)

        This should be bold and italic

        This should be bold with nested (i for italic) text

        [Ed: moved samples from your other comment to here.]

        1. Perfect!

          It looks like i, cite, and em all produce the same italicized result.

          Both b and strong produce boldface.

          Now we know… thanks for trying that out!

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