Sea lion necropsy 2012


Yesterday, Monday 12 November, many Pearson College students were involved in a necropsy of a male California sea lion. We began by towing the carcass to the maintenance dock.

Then pulling it up on to the shore.

Several measurements were recorded.

Standard length: 2.10 m

Curvilinear length: 2.21 m

Anterior length of foreflipper: 57 cm

Axillary flipper length: 45 cm

Widest foreflipper length: 58 cm

Anterior length of hindflipper: 43 cm

Widest hindflipper length: 34 cm

Tail length: 10 cm

Blubber thickness: 4-6 mm

We then cut into the abdominal cavity.

The intestines were removed, stretched out and measured to be 45 m!

Other organs were also removed from the abdominal cavity…

…including the stomach which was opened and found to be empty…

…and the liver.

The heart was also removed and cuts were made into the two ventricles (L and R in photo below).

At one point we needed to roll the sea lion up the shore as the tide was coming in…a significant challenge!

Although it is not clear to us why this particular sea lion died, this was an incredibly valuable experience for many Marine Science and Biology students.

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