“Seal” of Approval

WARNING: If you hate blood or dead animals, I would not recommend reading any further. We did a seal dissection so just be cautious!

Hi everyone! I have been super busy over the past 2 weeks turning in roughly: 4 papers/lab reports, 1 test, 2 journal clubs, and getting ready to my parents to come to go see our Swedish relatives for the first time. Let’s just say I am really excited to get away for the next few days. What I am even more excited about is to tell you about last week and how I went to Sweden and got to watch a seal dissection!

Last week I got to visit my friend Anja in Stockholm. She is actually in the DIS Stockholm program doing Translational Medicine: From Bench to Bedside and I would highly recommend going and watching her Instagram takeover she did a few weeks back (and mine of course 😊). I met and stayed with her host family who were absolutely amazing, and I even got to go downtown and see the historic city! We also went to a Swedish IKEA so I truly feel like I experienced Swedish-Inception. And don’t get me started on those beautiful Swedish meatballs. Also, I may have bought a Fjällräven hat that may have been a bit too expensive but was totally worth it!

I also got to watch a seal dissection for my Biology of Marine Mammals course! I will say that is was great, except for the smell. When you get a whiff of the intestines that are not exactly cleaned out…. Yeaaaaa. It was supercool to watch a real marine mammologist take us through the steps of examination and procedure of how they dissect the animal. Our animal was a harbor seal who had been shot in the head due to it getting too close to the fishing nets because they have a law that hunters can legally shoot them if they get within 500 meters of said net.

What was also great about it was the fact that we could touch and pick up the body parts. You wouldn’t realize how heavy a seal heart truly is. There were also tons of cool adaptations the harbor seal had too, including flexible ribs and expandable spleens. It was one of the best field studies I have been on so far and really helped connect what we learned about the seals to a real-life experience.

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