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Chicken leg dissection

Lab Three chicken led dissection


Today I am going to be dissecting a chicken leg that is attached to the chicken thigh. Throughout this dissection I will be giving specific detail about the structure and functions of the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. I will be identifying the muscles and their functions and also the bone and its functions. I hope that everybody enjoys this dissection as much as I did.

My chicken leg and thigh


I started by socking the chicken in water and making sure that all the extra blood is out of the chicken. While waiting I cleaned off the counter space and made sure that I have all the equipment that I will need to be able to dissect the chicken leg and thigh. I used a cutting board and many surgical tools such as gloves, knife, scissors, hemostat, and a probe. I also made sure to have paper towels available, bleach spray and antibacterial hand soap. Once I had my set up all ready I got the chicken leg and thigh and dried it off with a paper towel softly. I placed the chicken on the cutting board and put on my gloves and was ready to get started. I took a few minutes to observe the outside of the chicken and noticed that the leg of the chicken had a hematoma which could mean that the chicken had a bone fracture in its leg. Now I am ready to start identifying the skin tissue type, ligaments, muscles, and bones. I will also keep my eye open to see if I can find the bone fracture in the chicken leg.

getting chicken clean

Dissecting materials



I am observing the skin. It is a special connective tissue called adipose tissue. The structure of the adipose tissue is primarily cells called adipocytes filled with fat deposits. The fat tissue outside of the skin is yellow and very clumpy. It felt rubbery and very strong and flexible. It was very easy to get the fat of the skin. I used a knife and just barely had to touch the connective adipose tissue and the fat tissue separated away from the skin. The adipose tissue stores fat and adipocytes are the actual fat cells that are located under the skin. The adipose tissue keeps energy locked in its tissue for later use. It also serves as an insulator to keep all inside organs and bones safe, and keeps the body at its normal temperature.

Seperating skin

Adipose tissue

I noticed that around the bone of the chicken leg are many muscles. You can tell because each muscle is separated by a fascia which is a fibrous connective tissue. Each muscle is placed in its appropriate place so it can carry out its functions and let the leg and knee move properly. The larger muscles where on the top layer with smaller muscles underneath.


Next I am looking for a tendon which connects muscle to bone. A tendon is a tough connective tissue. When I felt the tendon it was very firm and strong. I could bend the tendon and move it around very easy. I tried to take the probe and put a hole in the end of the tendon to see the inside of it but it was not possible. I left the tendon sitting out next to the leg I was dissecting and by the time I was done dissecting the rest of the leg the tendon had turned crusty and almost a see through color and it harden up.


I am going to cut a small muscle off the chicken leg. In a human body there are more than six hundred skeletal muscles. They work with the skeleton to make bone movement possible. Skeletal muscles are the reason we can move certain ways and they also restrict some movement. Skeletal muscles have to contract and relax in order to make movement possible.

Small muscle

I am going to cut the rest of the muscles away from the chicken leg so all bone is exposed. That way I can see the joint and what the functions of it are. The chicken leg was able to move in a back and forth motion. Its motions would be flexion, extension, and hyperextension. You can’t move it side to side or the tendons and ligaments will tear. I noticed that the joint was hard but it had some give to it. I was very surprised by this because I thought it would be rock hard and it wasn’t. It almost seemed like it had padding in it. The knee joint is a hinged synovial joint. The inside of the joint has a synovial membrane which produces a synovial fluid that lubricates the joints and reduces friction. This is why the joint had some give to it. The joint bones are covered with a smooth layer of hyaline cartilage which makes up the joint capsule. The synovial membrane and synovial fluid help keep the cartilage in the knee going. If the cartilage of the knee happens to wear away it will become very stiff and painful. This could lead to arthritis.

Taking more muscles of the chicken

no more muscle left

chicken leg joint

Even though I can’t see insight the bone I will do my best to tell you what the bones do. Most of the bone is made up of extracellular crystals of calcium minerals which are why the bones are so hard. They help support, protect, and let movement be possible. Bones also form the blood cells and store minerals. So inside of the bone I believe that there will be yellow bone marrow, red and white blood cells, platelets for blood, calcium, and phosphate.

 Found the hematoma the bone had a fracture


This lab was extremely interesting to me. I am usually not very excited about having to do the dissecting in science class but this time I felt like it was a privilege. I learned so much that I had no idea about. I never knew exactly how many ligaments are actually in a chicken leg yuck. I have cooked chicken many times before and never seen what I saw actually dissecting it. I would have to say it definitely helps me understand more about the way muscles, ligaments, bones joints and the skin all work.


No more chicken


Works cited

Johnson, Michael. Human Biology Concepts and Current Issues. 6th. Boston: Benjamin Cummings, 2012. Print. 4/10/2012

http://www.browardhealthsportsmed.org/?id=1683&sid=12/ 4/10/2012

http://www.ehow.com/about_5422464_human-bones-made.html 4/10/2012


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