Dissection of the Pregnant Cow Reproductive Tract

A CIBT Lab Exercise in Reproduction and Development



The instructor will dissect an early to mid-pregnant bovine reproductive tract. Data on crown rump length and fetal mass can be collected for use with CIBTs "Fetal Development" lab. Some appreciation of the form and function of the various organs should be developed by students. This exercise will also serve as a comparative reproduction lab and highlight some of the differences between human and bovine anatomy.


Appropriate Levels

Life Science, Biology, Honors, AP, and Tech prep, depending upon the level of discussion and types of questions asked.


Time Required

Minimal. The uterus will need to thaw for about 24 hours before dissection. Plan on thawing time similar to a turkey of equivalent size. It can also be thawed by placing it into a sink full of water. This technique takes about an hour. Or, a final alternative would be to place it into a microwave on defrost. In class time: The exercise as scripted is designed to take twenty to thirty minutes (Time varies based on student involvement and questions). It could then be used as an introduction to the CIBT "Fetal Development" or "Hormones of the Menstrual Cycle" labs.



  • Large dissection tray or cafeteria tray. 
  • Alternatively, a dish pan may be useful for catching the amniotic fluid, depending on the size of the uterus.
  • One pregnant bovine reproductive tract.
    Latex or rubber gloves for all participants handling the specimen.
  • Scalpel, dissecting needle, dissecting pan and forceps.
  • Space to gather entire class around the tract.
  • Alternately, a video hook-up or "flex cam" could be used.(optional)
  • A set of photographic slides of the dissection
Copyright for this material is held by Cornell University, the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT), the Center for Nanoscale Systems Institute for Physics Teachers (CIPT), and or West Hill Biological Resources, Inc., 2014. This work may be copied by the original recipient from this web site to provide copies for users working under the direct supervision of the original recipient. All other redistribution of this content without the express written permission of the copyright holder(s) is prohibited.

Price: No Charge

Dave Frank, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Nancy Wright, Honeoye Central School, Honeoye, NY