Anatomy & Dissection Club Continues Nurturing Community Through Perch Dissection

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  • Using their bare hands, Anatomy & Dissection Club members Preethi Ram ’25 and Rahul Suresh ’25 open up their perch to examine its internal structure. Several club members chose to complete the dissection in pairs in order to help each other understand the specimen’s anatomy.

  • Using scissors, Anatomy & Dissection Club President Einez Wu ’23 cuts open her group’s perch as the other club officers offer input. Although the club officers researched perches before the dissection in order to create informational slides, the hands-on experience taught them new facts. “The most interesting thing I learned [from the dissection] was probably the placement of the brain in the fish, which resides further along the spine compared to mammals and reptiles,” Wu said.

  • Working together, Anatomy & Dissection Club members Eirona Wu ’26 and Arden Choi ’26 discuss their perch’s internal organs. Club members utilized the instructional slides, as well as each other, to better understand fish anatomy.

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On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Anatomy & Dissection Club met in Mr. Eric Scheiber’s room to dissect perches. While the club meets monthly to dissect and study animal specimens, the perch dissection was the club’s first full fish dissection. This year, club officers endeavored to dissect whole organisms rather than specific organs.

“[Perches are] relatively simple to dissect as [they don’t] have many organs,” Anatomy & Dissection Club Vice President Sanjay Balasubramanian ‘24, who suggested the dissection, said. “[The club officers] wanted the perch to act as a stepping stone to our bigger dissections. It was really interesting to see fish eggs and the gills [because] those aren’t things found in [other] specimens.”

Club members worked at their own pace to learn about the internal structures of perches, following instructions from a slideshow.

“I thought the dissection went really well,” Anatomy & Dissection Club President Einez Wu ‘23 said. “I personally enjoyed looking at the head of the fish most, as it differed significantly from the anatomy of mammals and reptiles.”

In addition to learning about perch anatomy, club members were able to socialize during the dissection, by working in pairs and with officers to understand the material.

“I definitely prefer dissecting specimens in a group or pair, as it’s a lot more fun learning about the specimen when you’re doing it with someone else,” Anatomy & Dissection Club member Rahul Suresh ‘25 said.

According to Wu, the club’s sense of community has grown since last year, when the officer team would project videos for the entire club to follow concurrently. This year’s self-paced approach provided club members with more freedom for collaboration and exploration.

“Anatomy is complicated, so having someone to discuss which parts correspond to which label on the diagram is really helpful because now you have multiple pairs of eyes and brains observing together,” Wu said. “Everyone also has their individual interests in the specimen and observing others cutting things up can expose you to things that you may not have thought about. Dissection is messy and can be intimidating, [so] being able to joke around with friends eases part of the stress and [any] repulsion that may be brought up by the process.”

While many members who attended the meetings had experiences with previous club dissections, the perch dissection also welcomed some new members.

“[The perch dissection] was my first time dissecting something for the Anatomy & Dissection Club,” Anatomy & Dissection Club member Preethi Ram ‘25 said. “I joined out of curiosity and [to] further explore different animals and the process of dissecting. [Overall], I enjoyed the experience of having the freedom to explore what I wanted to.”

Anatomy & Dissection is planning to meet again in February to dissect turtles.