3D Earthworm DissectionA 3D rendering of an earthworm made from a micro-computed tomography imagery dataset. This specimen was virtually dissected using the 'wedge dissect' tool in the open-source visualization software Drishti. (Courtesy of Alexander Ziegler)

Source: from Virtual Dissection Method Could Reinvigorate Zoology by Adrian Giordani on the Guest Blog
Credit: Image courtesy of Alexander Ziegler

Whether you dissected an earthworm, frog, cat or fetal pig in a science class during your childhood, you probably remember the stuffy smell of formalin that hovered around your classroom and tagged along with you to your next class no matter how well you washed up. Now consider that a handful of kids across the country smelled that smell and actually decided to go into the field of comparative anatomy where they would dissect formalin-soaked animals for the rest of their career. Sort of makes you wonder, eh?

Thankfully, Adrian Giordani reports in a post for the Guest Blog that a group of researchers have come to their colleagues’ rescue by employing 3D scanning technology to analyze and compare earthworm specimens with excellent results, potentially reinvigorating the field of comparative anatomy. We doubtless have years before this technology is used in schools, but when it does trickle down, who will join me in grossing out our youth with stories of rubbery, formalin-soaked frogs?